In this article, we will look at certain factors that contribute to gender inequality in the workplace in NZ - as well as how to improve
Gender inequality continues to be an issue in workplaces across New Zealand in all major industries, including the mortgage industry. The good news is that there are ways to improve gender equality in the workplace.
In this article, we will look at certain factors that contribute to gender inequality at work—as well as how to improve.
Gender equality in the workplace in New Zealand means that there are equal opportunities and outcomes for all genders. To achieve gender equality, everyone on the team must have equal access to rewards, resources, and opportunities.
Achieving gender equality in the workplace will require the following:
- Workplaces must provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value
- Workplaces must remove barriers to the full and equal participation of women
- Workplaces across all industries and occupations must provide equal access to leadership roles
- Workplaces must eliminate discrimination based on gender, especially when it comes to family and caring responsibilities
Gender equality in the workplace: Why it matters
Achieving gender equality in the workplace is critical not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is linked to New Zealand’s overall economic performance. Gender equality in the workplace achieves the following:
- Improves productivity and economic growth nationally
- Increases organisational performance
- Enhances the ability of organisations to draw talent and retain employees
- Helps build the reputation of companies
Gender equality in the workplace: NZ Equal opportunity laws
Both acts cover numerous forms of discrimination in New Zealand with regards to employment, sexual harassment, and unjust treatment in the workplace. These policies not only protect employees, but also extend to protect job applicants, contractors, and associates such as family and friends.
It is unlawful to discriminate against someone in New Zealand based on the following:
- Family or carer’s responsibility
- Marital status
- National extraction or social origin
- Physical or mental disability
- Race or skin colour
- Religion or political opinion
- Sex or sexual orientation
The Human Rights Commission enforces equal opportunity laws in New Zealand. Working under the Human Rights Act 1993, the commission leads, evaluates, monitors, and advises on all matters regarding equal employment opportunities.
If a person believes they have not been given equal opportunities in the workplace, they can make a complaint to the commission under the HRA 1993 for advice and support. This service is free and is flexible and confidential.
There are many examples of gender equality in the workplace, not only within the mortgage industry but throughout all industries. There are also examples of gender equality outside of the workplace, in the larger society. Here, however, we will be looking at two prime examples of gender equality in the workplace:
- Equal pay for equal work
- Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and gender-based bias
Here is a closer look at each to better understand gender equality in the workplace:
1. Equal pay for equal work
The pay gap between men and women remains significant. This is especially true for women who are mothers or caretakers. Gender equality in the workplace means being paid the same salary for the same work, despite gender.
Gender equality also means that if a woman takes time off work for maternity leave, for instance, she will not be punished upon returning to the workplace. In other words, she will still be considered for the same pay raises, promotions, and career opportunities as if she had not taken that necessary time off.
2. Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and gender-based bias
People of all genders deserve to feel safe, respected, and free of bullying, sexual harassment, prejudice based on gender, and microaggressions, whether in the workplace or out in the world.
Societies that appreciate and uphold gender equality have zero tolerance for offensive comments, abusive behaviors, or harassments. Gender equality in the workplace means zero tolerance for sexual harassment and gender-based bias.
It is no secret that gender inequality in the workplace remains a problem, not only in the mortgage industry but all industries around the globe. There are, however, different ways to address gender inequality in the workplace. Here is a quick look at some of these strategies:
- Educate team on unconscious gender bias
- Hire a diverse recruitment team
- Make salaries transparent, conduct timely audits
- Provide equal development/learning opportunities
- Empower women
- Encourage mentor-mentee relationships
- Offer parental leave
Let’s take a closer look at each:
1. Educate team on unconscious gender bias
To educate your team on unconscious gender bias, you must provide proper intensive training—which you can do with the help of the Implicit Association Test (IAT)—to all managers. IATs can be used to help managers and team members identify discriminatory situations and avoid these behaviors.
2. Hire a diverse recruitment team
By appointing a diverse recruitment team that has a diverse mindset, you can focus on shortlisting more women for entry-level jobs and top positions. Research suggests that an extended shortlist of candidates for open positions helps promote gender diversity, since it lets managers think beyond stereotypes associated with a role. For this reason, you should train your recruitment team to prepare longer shortlists during the hiring process.
3. Make salaries transparent, conduct timely audits
By conducting timely, company-wide salary audits for men and women in the same roles, you can ensure your company practices the rule of equal pay. Not only will this bring you one step closer to gender equality in the workplace, but it will also enhance diversity and inclusion.
4. Provide equal development/learning opportunities
To achieve gender equality in the workplace, it is important to provide equal development and learning opportunities. Adapting to changes in technology is one good way to upskill. Companies benefit in numerous ways when they prioritize women’s advancement, such as generating higher revenue growth, enhancing innovation, and increasing client satisfaction.
5. Empower women
One way to empower women in the workplace is to organize coaching sessions, which can keep women motivated and productive. These coaching sessions can help women and other gender minorities build skills in leadership roles. Empowerment happens especially when mentors are women themselves, breaking the pattern of men being in positions of power (and the resulting disparity).
6. Encourage mentor-mentee relationships
Mentor-mentee relationship programs benefit all involved, allowing even the mentors to enhance their leadership skills. When women mentor men, it can help break gender biases, stereotypes, and misogyny in the workplace. These reversed gender roles encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Linda Eagleton, a mortgage advisor with Loan Market who is also among NZ Adviser’s Elite Women 2023, said she has seen the mentor-mentee relationship work first-hand. “There's definitely boys’ club,” Eagleton said, “so we've created our own girls’ clubs. I surround myself with and collaborate with some other really successful woman in the industry (and) we support each other.”
7. Offer parental leave
Because paid time off to nurture a child has many health and career benefits, you should offer at least four months of paid parental leave. Men can also be encouraged to take parental leave, since it would allow men to spend more time with their loved ones.
According to a recent NZ Adviser article, there are ways to make your workplace accountable for the gender pay gap. If you want to work for or with female trailblazers in the mortgage industry, you will want to check out the best women mortgage leaders in New Zealand.
Have experience promoting gender equality in the workplace in New Zealand? Let us know in the comment section below.