The gender pay gap remains a significant challenge for women executives around the world, and while women themselves can take steps to address this issue, male executives also have a crucial role to play in closing the gap. As leaders in their organizations and industries, male executives can take proactive steps to support women in the workplace and promote greater gender equality. In this blog post, we will explore what male executives can do to help close the gender pay gap. Reflective questions are at the end to encourage male executives to identify their biases or other issues of the heart that prevent them from helping to close the gender pay gap.
Advocate for Equal Pay
One of the most important steps that male executives can take to support women and close the gender pay gap is to advocate for equal pay. This involves actively working to identify and address pay disparities within their organizations and industries, and working to create a more equitable compensation structure. This can involve reviewing compensation policies, conducting salary audits, and engaging with HR and management to ensure that women are being paid fairly for their work.
Promote Diversity and Inclusion
Male executives can also play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion in their organizations and industries. This can involve actively seeking out and promoting women for leadership positions, advocating for greater diversity on hiring panels, and creating a more inclusive culture that supports the advancement of women.
Mentorship is a powerful tool for career advancement, and male executives can play an important role in supporting the development of women leaders. This involves taking an active role in mentoring and sponsoring women in their organizations, providing guidance and support, and advocating for their advancement.
Support Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, part-time work, or job sharing, can be a critical tool for women who are seeking to balance work and family responsibilities. Male executives can support these arrangements by advocating for policies that enable flexible work, and by modeling flexible work practices themselves.
Create a Safe Work Environment
Male executives can also help to create safe and supportive working environments that enable women to be their authentic selves. This involves promoting a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion, and actively working to combat harassment, discrimination, and other forms of bias. By taking a zero-tolerance approach to workplace misconduct, male executives can help to create a more respectful and supportive workplace for all employees.
Reject Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity has a way of further marginalizing marginalized populations in the workplace, as such male executives can also reject toxic positivity towards women in the workplace. This involves recognizing and addressing situations where women are expected to maintain a positive attitude, even in the face of bias, harassment, or discrimination. Rather, encourage women to communicate their concerns and ensure they have the means by which to do so. By creating a workplace culture that values authenticity and honesty, male executives can help to break down barriers that prevent women from advancing in their careers.
Challenge Gender Stereotypes and Biases
Male executives can also play a role in challenging gender stereotypes and biases that can contribute to the gender pay gap. This involves actively challenging assumptions about women's capabilities and potential, and promoting a more inclusive and supportive culture that values diversity and recognizes the contributions of women. The first person male executives should challenge in their thinking is themselves. As such, here are some reflective questions that male executives can ask themselves about the gender pay gap:
What are my assumptions about gender roles and how they affect pay?
Have I ever assumed that women are less committed to their careers than men, leading to pay disparities?
Do I know the gender pay gap statistics in my organization, and if so, how am I addressing it?
Have I ever made decisions that have contributed to the gender pay gap, such as promotions or salary negotiations?
How can I ensure that all employees are paid fairly and equitably, regardless of gender?
Do I have a diverse team of employees, and if not, how can I increase diversity and ensure that everyone is paid fairly?
Have I ever been defensive when confronted with the issue of the gender pay gap, and why?
How can I actively work towards closing the gender pay gap, such as advocating for equal pay policies or providing more leadership opportunities for women?
In conclusion, the gender pay gap is a complex and persistent issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address. While women can take important steps to advocate for equal pay and advance their careers, male executives also have a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality in the workplace. By advocating for equal pay, promoting diversity and inclusion, mentoring women, supporting flexible work arrangements, creating safe work environments, rejecting toxic positivity, and challenging gender stereotypes, male executives can help to close the gender pay gap and create a more equitable and inclusive workplace.
At Lead My Heart (LMH), we recognize that achieving gender equality in the workplace requires a collective effort from both men and women. Our executive coaching and consulting services support men in their efforts to promote gender equality and help women navigate the unique challenges they face in their professional lives. Whether you are a male executive looking to support women in your organization, or a woman seeking to advance your career, we are here to support you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your career goals.
Dr. Wanita Mercer, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Lead My Heart, an executive coaching and consulting company specializing in equipping executives and executive teams to live and lead with purpose, passion, and power. She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in organizational leadership, and she is certified in life coaching, change management, project management, executive management, and corporate crisis management. She has over 15 years of experience as an international educator, motivational speaker, author, and civic leader. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.