March 9, 2018 By Claire Cooper
March 9, 2018
Can Remote Working Help to Close The Gender Gap?
While in recent years, and even months, gender equality in the workplace has made both headlines and forward progress, we need to pick up the pace! If we keep going as we are right now, we won’t get rid of the gender pay gap until 2152. As this week is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month, we want to provide some tips about how to champion flexible work as one small step companies may be able to take in order help close the gender gap.
Remote work has been the target of several studies over the past decade. The researchers’ findings were unequivocal. Increased flexibility for employees correlates with a reduced disparity between men and women.
Want solid proof? The tech industry should be your first stop. Tech ranks second among sectors embracing remote work. How does this translate into compensation? Female employees earn 96-98 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. That’s a tiny difference when compared to the average of 76 cents to every dollar a man makes across other industries.
Healthcare and media are other prime examples of industries that embrace remote work. Those too, are synonymous with greater pay equality. In contrast, enterprises where remote work hasn’t been adopted – or, fair enough, is impossible at the moment – like agriculture, mining, and food services carry some of the largest gender pay gaps.
Childrearing and caregiving responsibilities still often fall primarily to women. As such, a woman in that position often need to not only put in the hours at work, but come home to another full time job!
Remote work emphasizes deliverables and results over time spent in the office. For working mothers, that’s a game changer. They can now build their work day around family obligations and a better life/ work balance. This allows women to keep their jobs and potentially cut down on childcare expenses.
Gender bias is another factor that unfortunately can come into play when giving people their bonuses, or during salary negotiations. The non-traditional nature of virtual work helps strip away many of these gender biases. When communication is mainly done through chat, video conference or email, employees benefit from a robust equalization effect. Those who’d otherwise feel anxious or disincentivized to share thoughts and opinions in a face-to-face setting are thus empowered, and the workplace is equalized.
By now, the conclusion is a no-brainer: remote work offers tremendous benefit for women wanting to develop their careers while also maintaining a good life/ work balance.
It’s now up to business leaders to pick up the pace and take the next step toward change! That’s right managers: it’s on you guys! (and gals!) Champion a change in your company’s mindset towards remote work by embracing it not just as a token benefit offered to staff, but as something that will benefit your company as a whole. Offer proof that it will result in increased productivity and decreased burnout. Convince the upper echelons to test and measure it – the benefits will be there for all to see.
And there’s more. You won’t be just helping to bring an end to gender pay gap. That would be a worthy goal in itself, but it comes with a bonus! Adopting remote work will also boost your chances of attracting and retaining top talent, both male and female. There are plenty of benefits so why not give it a try!
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