PM Urged To Do More On Canada’s Workplace Equality

When he entered the Prime Minister’s Office, Justin Trudeau vowed to push forward gender equality in the workplace. But not all diversity experts believe much has changed for women. There are no female CEOs on corporations in the S&P/TSX 60 Index, alongside the very low amount of women sitting on corporate boards. Just two years ago, women held only 15% of all board seats among publicly-traded companies. That’s just a 1% increase on the year before. While for years there has been serious under-representation of women on boards the introduction of Bill C-25 will make public companies that are federally-regulated to reveal the configuration of their senior management teams and boards.

Airlines’ Boost Gender Diversity

Gender equality has become increasingly widespread in the aviation industry, as more airlines are focused on how they can increase the number of women in their workforce. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is driving forward gender diversity in the airline industry as it unveils a new ‘25by2025’ policy. The strategy urges all its airline members to increase the number of women represented in senior roles and other under-represented positions within the next six years by at least 25%. Across the globe, women represent only 5% of pilots and just 3% are CEOs. The policy also wants the industry to improve annual reporting on key diversity metrics. IATA hopes that this commitment from airlines will form part of real and effective initiatives that break the barriers that exclude women from rising through the ranks.

How Organizations Can Improve Equality And Diversity

While the airline industry aims to be at the forefront of advancing diversity, there are several strategies organizations can implement to improve equality in the workplace. These should focus on the three main stages of the employment cycle, hiring, retention and career advancement. Organizations must ensure they always remain accountable by setting targets, collecting data and establishing robust accountability measures such as collective agreements and financial incentives. Decision-makers should be encouraged to set the tone by modelling a realistic work-life balance along with more flexibility available to accommodate family responsibilities. Employee benefits can also play a role in this, offering employees a range of benefits from basic health care plans, travel benefits and company cars to childcare and workers’ comp insurance that offers protection to workers if they are injured at work.

Gender Equality Now A Priority

Commitment to gender diversity has never been so strong within the Canadian economy. Four out of five Canadian employers consider gender equality to be a priority for their organization. Meanwhile half have already created a business case for gender equality, three times more since 2017. But changes are happening at a slow pace and there continues to be a leaky talent pipeline. While men and women share an equal split at entry-level, and women’s general representation across the talent pipeline has risen by 2%, women must still overcome the challenges of discrimination and advancement at work. Just three women will be promoted to a manager role for every four men who are promoted to this level. Meanwhile, just under 60% of women claim to have experienced some type of microaggression at work.

While equality in the workplace may have come along way in recent years, there is still much more the government, recruiters and organizations can do to ensure a level playing field in the workforce.

Thanks to Jane Sandwood

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