4 Minute Read

Support Women in Your Workforce or Else

Would it surprise you to hear that women are being passed over for key roles because they are… fertile?

Women face many annoyances in the workforce, ranging from sexism to gender discrimination. This talented and well-educated workforce is potentially not reaching its professional goals because of the very nature of its sex. Women have children, and women take maternity leave.

The parental unit is shifting toward a bilateral effort from both parents, but not fast enough. The majority of the burden is still on the mother. More than 40% of women have taken time off from their careers to care for their children, as opposed to just 15% of men. Where is the happy medium between hiring women and retaining them if they happen to have children?

Gender Discrimination

The struggle starts even before women have the ‘good news’ announcement. Managers prematurely shy away from hiring women who have the capacity to bear children in the near future: 40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around maternity leave.

Pregnancy discrimination is illegal and downright bogus, but the truth of the matter is it’s happening. Women are cognitively passed on because of their age and their capacity to bear children. These managers are missing out on a capable and flexible workforce. Is money being saved in the end? Studies show it’s not.

Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors have seen their returns on invested capital increase by at least 66%, returns on sales increase by 42%, and returns on equity increase by at least 53%.

Gallup has found that companies with more diverse teams (including more women) have a 22% lower turnover rate. Organizations with more inclusive cultures also have an easier time with recruiting. Women are financially impacting the bottom line in the best way possible. Adjusting to the unique needs of this workforce can be beneficial to all in the end.

Maternity Leave

Americans are far from number one in maternity leave benefits.  According to an International Health Organization report of 41 developed countries, 17 provide paid time off for between 90 and 100% of their populations, including many Western European countries like Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K., but also Estonia and the Czech Republic. Paid maternity leave can be government mandated in other countries, but in the U.S.A. it is up to each employer to decide. In the United States, only 12% of private industry workers had access to some kind of paid family leave.

American policies are behind the world. The U.K. offers 90% of one’s average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks and a base rate for the next 33 weeks of maternity leave. Should the United States have to change? Paid maternity leave can give a woman more incentive to come back to work and pick up right where she left off at the same company.

27% of women said they make less money than they would have if they had not had children. Only 11% of men said they feel the same way. With women out of the workforce for weeks due to the gift of life, a seamless transition back into the grind of years prior can be difficult.

Read the rest on Recruiter.com


photo credit: Rowena Waack via photopin cc