Gender inequality is one of the most persistent and flagrant forms of inequality that places half of the world’s population at a systematic disadvantage: women.
What interventions are needed to bring about a significant shift towards a more equitable future in terms of gender equality in the world of work? The Adecco Group identified some challenges that the pandemic aggravated – such as the increase in domestic violence or the increased informal workload for women – and proposed an active role for all actors in the labour market: governments, companies and individuals. Everyone has a shared responsibility to minimize the impact of gender inequality.
GENDER EQUALITY is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the achievement of the ‘2030 Agenda’, defined by the United Nations (UN) for a fairer and more balanced world. With the premise that the labour market is the board where all stakeholders – governments, companies, unions and professionals – can make their contribution to promoting gender equality, the Adecco Group analyzed the challenges facing Global Society, namely with the recent changes in the pandemic, and the opportunities that open up in this context, with the conviction that actions will have to be intensified already in 2022.
ELIMINATE PREJUDICES AND DISCRIMINATION
The SDG ‘GENDER EQUALITY’ is focused on driving actions towards achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women. Gender equality is a human right and the fight against gender-based marginalization needs to be significantly intensified, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, given its disproportionate impact on women, confirmed by several studies.
Women remain under-represented in decision-making bodies, face discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and assume unpaid care obligations with regard to domestic work, children and sometimes seniors. In Portugal, according to the Statistical Bulletin of 2021 of the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality, in 2020 the population residing in Portugal continues to be mostly female. And although the country is well-positioned on this topic worldwide, there is still a long way to go.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) notes that gender disparities have been difficult to close in the last decade. The pandemic has only made the situation worse: there is an over-representation of women at the front line and therefore greater exposure to health risks, we have seen an increase in domestic violence, and unpaid domestic work has skyrocketed.
In particular, the rise in gender-based violence points to the greatest social challenge. While global awareness of gender-based marginalization, violence and discrimination has increased in recent years and perpetrators are increasingly facing public backlash and criminal investigations for their actions, much of this escapes the eyes of the public – and the system of criminal justice. Therefore, in addition to the responsibilities of governments to protect people, the ILO has identified a set of responsibilities that fall on employers and are not limited to the workplace. Considering the increase in hybrid work, it is even more important that all stakeholders understand the obligation not to divert attention to signs or evidence of violence and to check with friends and colleagues how their lives are going with the changes that the pandemic has brought. to the labour market.
Tackling discrimination across the entire Human Resources value chain – from recruiting, managing, developing and promoting talent, to reward and recognition – is crucial, as it is still all too common for marginalized groups to be excluded on the basis of their attributes personal. Processes and practices should focus solely on the skills and qualifications that a candidate brings. All decision-making processes must aim at equal representation, whether in the boardrooms and senior executive leadership or in parliaments and local government.
There is still a long way to go. And the world of work needs to be a leading arena in the fight against gender-based inequality. To drive progress and effectively eliminate (un)conscious prejudices and discrimination and advance gender equality, we need to overhaul and rebuild systems, policies and institutions. And we need more transparency and accountability. Everyone has a role to play in making systematic and systemic progress towards these goals, in order to shape a better World of Work that decisively combats discrimination wherever it occurs.
ALL INTERESTED PARTIES IN THE LABOR MARKET HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
Governments must intensify their fight against the informal/shadow economy and make social rights accessible to workers in a wide range of positions. In addition, social rights must also be reflected in amendments to employment contracts. Improved flexible working policies are another solution to support people transitioning to the formal economy. Any form of discrimination based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, belief, background, legal status or other characteristics should be prohibited, whenever this has not already been done. School curricula must better align with the skills requirements of the labour market, and educational institutions must cooperate with employers to develop innovative learning models that deliver relevant skills to students.
Employers must be more active in combating inequality and harnessing their positions and influence to enable everyone to gain access and success in the labour market. Inclusion is critical, and employers must systematically review their processes of (un)conscious discrimination and prejudice and provide secure, anonymous reporting lines for individuals to report abuses. It is essential that marginalized groups receive the support they need to have equal opportunity.
Professionals must help create an atmosphere of acceptance, equality and respect in their workplaces by being attentive, inclusive and helping to foster such a culture. It is important that everyone has an obligation to raise their voice against discrimination whenever we observe it.