How Management Can Help Close the Gender Gap

John Krautzel
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Women make less than men in the United States over the course of an entire career. Sometimes, women make career choices — such as going into fields that pay less or reducing work hours to take care of a family — that decrease their lifetime pay. However, management at all levels can do things to help keep women on the job, prepare them for promotions and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Remove Any Biases

Human resources can remove any biases when it hires new employees to replace a previous worker. HR managers can ascertain what the position is actually worth based on job duties, responsibilities, skills and the level of knowledge needed to maintain the position. This examination lets HR determine the real value of a position without using the amount earned by the person who held the job previously.

Annual audits across all departments can help determine if the company bases pay on performance, experience and market value. Managers can determine which positions need more training opportunities so everyone, including women, has an equal chance to earn promotions. Programs can include management training and leadership skills courses to teach employees what it takes to move to the next level.

Networking and Mentoring

Creating more networking and mentoring opportunities represents two ways employers can help employees maintain and expand their knowledge base. Employers should ensure men and women have access to these opportunities. Managers can examine personality traits of individuals who display characteristics of future business leaders. These outstanding employees can attend workshops and networking events to increase working knowledge of the industry.

Executives, both male and female, should reach out to women who are candidates for mentoring. Personalized mentoring can go a long way toward keeping women on a certain career path despite any challenges. Although mentoring is an informal process, some formalized benefits may make it easier for women to stay with a chosen career longer.

Scheduling, Flexible Hours and Higher Pay

Scheduling, paid leave and flexible work hours are all issues important to women who seek ways to maintain a job while raising a family. Companies can allow women to take more time off to care for children to encourage mothers to stay with the company for longer periods of time. Women could lose up to $275,000 in wages due to caregiving duties at home. Paid family leave can alleviate that loss.

Flexible schedules, rather than on-call schedules, also encourage women to stay employed. Working parents need to arrange for child care, doctor appointments, and rides to and from school. Employers that have flexible schedules make it easier on working families and single mothers to adapt to having a career and a family at the same time.

Employers could increase the minimum wage of entry-level employees. Although the federal minimum wage is the lower limit, that figure does not stop companies from paying employees a higher wage to start. More money, coupled with better scheduling, go a long way to lessening the gender wage gap.

The disparity in pay between men and women occurs for several reasons. Managers, executives and HR departments can take practical steps to ensure women get a better chance to make money while maintaining a career. This makes sense and dollars for employers that foster these concepts.

Photo Courtesy of Chris Dodd at


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