What is it and how to combat the gender gap?

There is still a long way to go to achieve total equality between men and women in the workplace. Find out in this post about the gender gap in Spain.

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When we talk about the gender gap in work environments, the first thing that comes to mind is wage inequality, but this is only one of the consequences of this socio-labour obstacle since the gender gap implies inequality in many more aspects that we will discuss in this post.

Women not only continue to earn less per hour at many companies, but they also do more unpaid work, have more part-time contracts, and are more likely to be unemployed than men. All of this makes the difference in overall earnings between men and women in the European Union more than 28%. 

What is the gender gap in the workplace?

The concept of gender gap refers to the inequality that still exists in the work environment between men and women only because of their condition. While men have it easier to access employment opportunities, grow within the company, take executive positions or, simply, charge more for similar work; women need to constantly demonstrate that they are capable of taking on certain responsibilities in order to be taken seriously. What’s more, women need to give up many other facets of their lives, such as motherhood or family reconciliation, in order to have the same opportunities as their partners, who of course also have, or should have, the same tasks in their private lives.

In other words, the gender gap is unfounded by very old and deep-rooted concepts of what a woman is, attributing many conditions that are incompatible with her professional growth.

What is the origin of the gender gap?

The origin of the gender gap is entirely cultural. It has always been understood that the main task of women is to procreate and keep afloat everything that is the private sphere of life, only being able to work outside the home in the event that this does not hinder the tasks of their gender. In other words, culturally, the woman’s priority is to be in charge of the house, and all kinds of professional or personal growth are secondary.

On the other hand, when the woman has managed to find time to try to work outside the home, we come across part-time employment, where it is clearly seen that women have more than half of the contracts. Once again, women are forced to reduce their work hours to attend the home.

What are the main reasons for the gender gap?

But the causes of the gender gap are not only cultural, and not because we are in the 21st century, the reasons that cause inequality between men and women at work have changed a lot. Being a woman entails a series of aspects that, today, are still seen as an obstacle for many companies, such as maternity or the glass ceiling and many others like these:

  1. Discrimination in the workplace: Women often face discrimination in access to quality jobs, career advancement, wages, and working conditions. The persistence of gender stereotypes and traditional roles influence the assignment of roles and responsibilities at work.
  2. Pay Gap – The pay gap should not be confused with the gender gap, as the difference in pay between men and women is one of the causes of the gender gap. Despite the fact that there are laws that guarantee equal pay, a wage gap between men and women persists in Spain. Women tend to be paid less for doing the same work or tasks of equal value.
  3. Unequal division of household work and family care: Women often bear a disproportionate burden of household responsibilities and care for children and dependent family members. This unequal division limits their participation in the workplace and hinders their professional progress.
  4. Gender stereotypes and traditional roles: Engrained gender stereotypes in society assign men and women specific roles and behaviours. These expectations limit women’s development opportunities and options, especially in fields traditionally considered masculine.
  5. Barriers to education and training: although progress has been made in educational equality, and all students have the same opportunities to access the career they want, inequalities still exist in the choice of careers and areas of study. Women are in the minority in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  6. Gender violence: Violence against women is a serious manifestation of inequality and contributes to perpetuating the gender gap. Situations of violence and the fear of it can limit the autonomy and participation of women in different spheres of society.

What measures are being taken in companies to end inequality between men and women?

Above all, during the last decade, the issue of the gender gap has been very hot in society and for this reason, many companies have undertaken their own equality projects in which initiatives have been seen such as the anonymous application to job vacancies responsibility, implementation of inclusion programs or the promotion of a company culture based on equality. However, as we want to be as accurate and objective as possible, we will talk about the mandatory measures below.

The Royal Decree on equal pay is approved: which facilitates the identification of cases of wage discrimination through a set of instruments for transparency, such as a register with information broken down by sex, professional classification, type of remuneration and an audit of the company

Business equality plans: as of 2021, it was mandatory for all types of companies to have equality plans accessible to all workers. They contemplate a diagnosis negotiated with the social agents and cover everything from the personnel selection process and the permanence in a company, to leaving the job.

We hope that with this post the concept of the gender gap has become clearer to you and that, from now on, you know how to identify it in your environment. If you want to know more about equality, personal development, business trends, professional growth and innovation, don’t miss anything from Educa.Pro. We will wait for you!

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