Gender Equality in the Workplace

Gender Equality in the Workplace

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, both within the workplace and without – and in our lifetimes, there has been tremendous progress to building more equity. Unfortunately, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2020, at our current rate of progress, it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Joining us today, to talk about ways we can all help move the needle on this a little more is Ellen Voie, the President and CEO of the Women in Trucking Association. Here, she explains:

  • How company success is tied to gender equality;
  • Gender equality's role in retention & recruitment;;
  • Ways to address gender equality within your organization; and
  • Why historically male industries, like the trucking industry, present great growth opportunities for women!

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The Landscape of Gender Equality in the Workplace

  • By definition, equality means that no one thing or person is superior or inferior to the other. In the workplace, equality exists when everyone is viewed as being capable of doing the same thing.
  • In order for there to be true gender equality in the workplace, there must be a level playing field, which is uncommon in male-dominated fields.


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Job Effects of the Pandemic on Women

  • Women saw much higher rates of job loss throughout the pandemic, compared to men.
    • Many women had to make the choice to put their family first throughout the pandemic because they are often still the primary caregivers;
    • Women work a higher proportion of jobs that require in-person attendance, so for those jobs, they weren’t able to take part in remote or hybrid options.

Company Success & Gender Equality in the Workplace

  • It has been found that organizations that value gender equality in the workplace consistently outperform industry medians.
    • Consequently, having more women in leadership roles creates a higher net worth for the organization. 
  • In order to adjust any inequality, you must first identify it. 
    • This includes pointing out unconscious biases and working to avoid them moving forward.

Gender Equality’s Role in Retention and Recruitment

  • There have been studies that show men will apply for a position or promotion when they feel they have 60% of the qualifications while women won’t apply until they feel they are 100% qualified.
  • Research has also shown that women are less likely to negotiate salaries and benefits.
    • If women are not asking for promotions or advancements, then they will never gain any forward momentum, which can lead to searches for positions outside of the organization. 
  • Women should feel support from their company and their wants and needs should also be addressed just the same as their male counterparts. 
  • True gender equality in the workplace cannot occur until every person feels that they have the ability to be heard and advance throughout the organization.

It All Starts in the C-Suite

  • If an emphasis on gender equality is not realized at the top of the organization, it likely will not be anywhere else throughout the organization.
    • The C-suite is where the resources to build gender equality initiatives stem from, so it is imperative that leadership is working toward gender equality improvements consistently. 

Assessing Your Level of Gender Equality

  • It can be difficult to gather significant data on the level of gender equality in your workplace, but there are methods to ensure that it is at the forefront of leadership efforts.
  • Oftentimes, organizations don’t track DEI initiatives, but tracking is essential. 
    • In order to measure up to other organizations who are seen as the standard for DEI efforts, there needs to be tangible numbers to work toward.
  • Employees are also now asking for DEI information, so employers should be prepared to answer those questions. 

The Wage Gap

  • The wage gap between men and women is a combination of simply women being paid at lower rates and the “glass ceiling” throwing off those averages. 
  • Women are commonly still penalized for taking time off for maternity leave.
  • The main driver behind the wage gap is the unconscious bias shown by both men and women that women downplay their achievements, are more of a team player, and avoid any conflict for fear of not being liked.

How to Address Gender Inequality

  • Build bias awareness within the workplace. 
  • Take care with the language used in job descriptions and responsibilities, as this, too, can play a role in attracting men vs. women to open positions.
    • There are certain keywords that research has shown can be more appealing to men vs women or vice versa. 
  • Blind the résumé review process to ensure that zero biases get in the way of the hiring process.This means ensuring that the reviewer has no idea of the applicant’s gender, race, ethnicity, etc.
  • Standardize interviews. Each applicant should be asked the same questions in the same order.
  • Beware of biases toward likability. It is human nature to gravitate toward people who are like us and if that subjective action is part of the hiring process, odds are that DEI metrics are not as high as they could be.
  • Use a collaborative hiring process to help address DEI efforts and gender equality in the workplace. 
    • When there are more voices present, biases are less likely to influence the final decision.
  • Vary where jobs are advertised. If a particular organization only advertises in a particular location or via a particular medium, that will likely work against any DEI hiring efforts. 
  • Set DEI goals. Without tangible goals, it can be difficult to know when efforts are reaching successful levels. 

The History Behind Gender Inequality

  • Historically, women have needed to conform to the role of a man if they wanted to be involved in a male-dominated business.Today, that is no longer the case. 
  • Sharing the stories of women who have worked so tirelessly to be respected and valued within male-dominated businesses helps to empower the growth of gender equality in the workplace today.

Data is the Driver

  • Data has become the biggest ally to helping create gender equality in the workplace.
  • The more data that can be shown about how organizations with more women in leadership perform better, have happier employees, etc, the more organizations will realize that they need to hire more women. 

The Great Resignation

  • “The Great Resignation” is something we have been aware of and monitoring throughout all industries over the past 18 months or so, but this movement has actually opened doors for some industries, like trucking.
  • Many women who left their jobs due to the pandemic have found opportunities in the trucking industry.
    • A big reason for this are the buzzwords of “supply chain.” The realization of how much that truck on the road actually means to families arose, and people began to realize just how important the industry is.

Women in Trucking Association

  • The Women in Trucking Association is a nonprofit that aims to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry. 
  • Over the years, the role of the Women in Trucking Association has changed into a resource for women in the industry and companies alike, helping to bridge the gap of what women in the trucking industry want and need to be successful along with what trucking companies are looking for in their employees and leaders. 
  • The Women in Trucking Association is also working to increase awareness of the opportunities in the industry by introducing things like a Girl Scout patch, a truck driver doll, Driver Ambassador Program, and much more.
  • 15% of members are men, all who support the mission of empowering women in the trucking industry.
  • There is also a Facebook group made up of almost 11,000 female drivers working to support each other in any way needed.

Ellen Voie Background


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