By Lissele Pratt, Director & co-founder, Capitalixe
While many Gen Z’s have not yet stepped foot in the working world, they already stand out as a force of diversity advocates. Why? Well, for one thing, they are growing up in a world where there has been greater exposure to diversity than any other generation before them.
From powerful movements like #MeToo and #Timesup to an increase in sexual identities and fluidity, Gen Z is the first generation to have experienced a uniquely diverse world.
According to HeforShe, gender equality is one of the top four most cared about issues for Gen Zs across the world. With that exposure comes increasing pressure to address these issues head-on.
So, what does this mean for businesses? As the Gen Z population continues to enter the workforce, we can expect to see a break in the glass ceiling on diversity. Gender parity will start to become the norm as more and more Gen Z employees demand it in their workplaces.
Of course, simply hiring a more diverse workforce is not enough to create an inclusive culture. To really embrace gender diversity, businesses need to do more than just check the boxes. They need to foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable being their true selves.
Here are a few key things your business can do to make sure you’re ahead of the curve on gender diversity:
Educate yourself and your team on the issues
The first step to tackling any problem is to educate yourself and your team on the issue. This is especially important when it comes to something as sensitive as gender diversity. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the weight of the issue.
Make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest statistics, research and trends when it comes to gender diversity. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make a change.
Be aware of your own biases
As humans, we are all biassed in some way or another. It’s important to be aware of your personal biases to avoid letting them impact your decisions.
For example, if you’re a man in a position of power, you may be inadvertently biassed against women. It’s not intentional, but it can happen without you even realising it. The key is to be aware of your own biases and make an effort to check them.
Create an open and inclusive environment
An open and inclusive environment is key to embracing gender diversity. This means creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable being their true selves.
This starts with your company culture. Make sure you promote a culture of inclusion where differences are celebrated. And don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk! Practice what you preach and show your employees that you value diversity.
The Center for Creative Leadership found that women wanted a calling, not just a regular 9-5 job, flexibility in where, when & how they work and access to real leadership opportunities. With this in mind, businesses should be adapting their work environments to better meet these needs.
Acknowledge and address discrimination and harassment
Sadly, discrimination and harassment are still all too common in the workplace. If you see or hear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s important to speak up.
Don’t be afraid to address discrimination and harassment head-on. Let your employees know that this behaviour will not be tolerated in your workplace.
Promote and support women in leadership
One of the best ways to promote gender diversity is to support women in leadership roles. This sends a strong message that you value diversity and are committed to promoting equality.
Make sure you’re providing the same opportunities to women as you are to men. And don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo! If you see a problem, speak up and try to find a solution.
Launch Networking Communities & Employee Resource Groups
Networking communities and employee resource groups (ERGs) are a great way to promote diversity. They provide a safe space for employees to connect with others who share similar backgrounds or experiences.
ERGs can also be a valuable resource for businesses. They can help you develop a better understanding of the issues your employees face and come up with strategies to address them.
Measure and track your progress
Last but not least, it’s important to measure and track your progress on gender diversity. This will help you determine what’s working and what needs to be improved.
There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals and then track your progress over time. Let’s say you want to hire more women executives. Your smart goal could be as follows: ‘we will hire ‘we will hire two additional women executives within the next six months. You can then track your progress by looking at the number of women executives you have hired over time.
These goals can be applied to any aspect of your business, from hiring to performance reviews. Be sure to share them with your employees and communicate them clearly. This will not only ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals, but it also holds you to account in meeting these goals.
So there you have it! These are just a few of the things your business can do to embrace gender diversity.
Keep in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort and commitment. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can make a difference.
As Co-Founder of Capitalixe, Lissele Pratt helps companies in high-risk industries obtain the latest financial technology and banking solutions.
With seven+ years of experience in the financial services industry and a global perspective, the entrepreneurial-minded Lissele is a recognised thought-leader in foreign exchange, payments and financial technology. Her entrepreneurial spirit took her from crafting her first business at the age of 16 to scaling her finance business to $800K+ in annual revenue in just under two years.
Lissele’s hard work and determination landed her a spot on the Forbes 30 under 30 finance list in 2021. She is extremely passionate about helping women break into the finance industry and is an active proponent for equality. She is also a Virgin Startup mentor and Co-Founder of Athena Founders, a global community for female entrepreneurs to connect, learn and grow.