Gender Equality and Gender-Inclusive HR Policies: Creating a Fair and Diverse Workplace

Gender equality image

An essential element to creating a fair and diverse workplace in the United Kingdom is implementing gender equality and inclusive HR policies within the working environment. By prioritising gender equality and inclusivity in the workplace, the business is creating a supportive culture that welcomes everyone. Creating a business with equality and diversity at the forefront. This type of working environment will lead to higher employee satisfaction, creativity, and productivity, boosting business performance.


Having a gender-diverse working environment, helps UK businesses have a better understanding of their diverse customers’ needs. This will have a positive impact on customer loyalty.  Additionally, incorporating inclusive policies can make the business look more attractive to potential candidates when going through the recruitment process and help keep employees in the business. Inclusive policies can range from flexible working, supporting work-life balance, and parental leave.

Creating gender equality and inclusivity in the working environment isn’t only the right thing to do, but there is also substantial advantages for business owners and employees.

What is Gender Equality in the Workplace?

To have gender equality in a business, all employees must be provided equal opportunities to develop and succeed in their roles regardless of their gender. Gender equality includes equal access to career development opportunities, fair pay, and a working environment without discrimination, bias, or harassment.

Gender equality removes gender-based barriers, biases and gender stereotypes, guaranteeing everyone is provided equal opportunities and sources to be successful within society and the working environment.

What are the benefits of gender equality in the workplace?

Promoting and creating gender equality has many benefits for businesses, including;

Increased business performance

Research has shown businesses promoting gender equality within their workforce will see higher financial performance when compared to businesses with less diversity.

Enhancing innovation

A business having gender equality helps to bring a range of opinions and perspectives, stimulating and enhancing innovation.

Better workplace culture

Employee morale and satisfaction will be higher when the workplace has gender equality, leading to the workplace culture being inclusive and positive celebrating all genders.

Diversified workforce

When you create an inclusive and diverse workforce, it will continue to attract and retain diverse employees. This brings further benefits of further understanding of diverse customer bases and further perspectives.

Common barriers to reaching gender equality.

Reaching gender equality in the workplace has its barriers, such as pay gaps and lack of female representation within management/leadership roles. Furthermore, stereotyping and expectations limit businesses from reaching gender equality.

Breaking gender-related discrimination and bias can be difficult within the workplace, so businesses must commit to increasing diversity and inclusivity, whilst promoting gender equality proactively throughout all aspects of the workplace, from junior to director roles.

What are Gender-Inclusive Policies?

Gender-inclusive HR policies aim to promote equality and non-discrimination within the working environment helping employees to feel valued and supported. The HR policies should be designed to be inclusive of all genders, including male, female, and non-binary.

Both the employer and employee will see the benefits of gender-inclusive HR policies, from improving work-life balance and higher job satisfaction for employees to lower turnover rates of employees and attracting highly intelligent candidates when recruiting due to having a strong business reputation.

If the business has a poor reputation for poor work-life balance, you may have to provide 10% higher wages.

Examples of gender-inclusive policies (UK)

Transgender-inclusive health benefits

If the business includes private health care benefits, it should be covering gender-affirming treatments and operations for transgender employees.

Harassment and anti-discrimination policies

Preventing and addressing harassment or discrimination in the workplace is key to employees feeling safe and supported. Developing clear policies and processes is critical, they should also be communicated to all employees and businesses with zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination.

Gender-neutral language

This involves using language such as ‘they/them’ rather than he/him or her/she, others include using parental leave not maternity or paternity leave. Primarily it means avoiding pronouns or titles, simply put not assuming the person’s gender. This helps to remove gender stereotypes or biases.

Strategies for Implementing Gender-Inclusive Policies

Conducting a Gender Pay Gap Analysis

Conducting a pay gap analysis involves reviewing the differences between male and female pay within the business. In order to complete a pay gap analysis, the business should be by gathering data including salaries, job titles, and gender. Evaluate the mean and medium of the salaries comparing males and females. This analysis will identify any substantial pay gaps.

Consider the difference between job levels, departments, and additional reasons impacting pay.  Next, the business needs to have an understanding of the reasons for the pay gap. Factors for this include employees’ experience, education level or job titles.

Evaluate the potential there were any biases during promotions, performance reviews, or when recruiting. After the analysis is complete, develop an action plan for reducing the gender pay gap if there is any.

The action plan should involve training employees on unconscious bias, reviewing the business’s pay structure, and developing policies for gender equality.  Progress should be monitored continually, as a gender pay gap analysis isn’t and shouldn’t be a one-time process but an ongoing one.

Providing Flexible Working Arrangements

A game changer for gender equality in a business is providing flexible working arrangements. Helping employees to manage both their personal and work responsibilities.

Businesses need to review what types of flexible working would work best for them, whether this is job sharing, part-time working, or flexitime with core hours. From this evaluation, a policy should be created detailing the eligibility criteria, the process for requesting, and the approval procedure.

It should stop there, communicating to employees about the policy is critical alongside providing training for managers to help them to manage the requests effectively.  Continuous monitoring is necessary for the policy to ensure productivity and engagement hasn’t dropped due to flexible working.

Understanding any barriers employees may be faced with in order to utilise the flexible working arrangements and remove them. Incorporating this policy into the working environment, it creates a space where employees feel valued and empowered regardless of gender.

Providing Parental Leave and Support

If your business is taking steps to create a gender-inclusive working environment, providing parental leave and support is a critical aspect. All parents, regardless of gender want time to bond with their new baby and adjust to their new life.

The business parental leave policy should incorporate paternity and maternity leave, detailing the procedures for requesting and approving leave alongside clear eligibility criteria for within the UK.  Other programs businesses may consider are childcare support or lactation rooms.

Developing and implementing a Parental leave and support policy it clearly demonstrates the business’s commitment to making a family-friendly working environment. Both employees and employers will see the benefit of this policy, from providing employees with a better work-life balance to increased productivity and engagement within the workplace.

Creating a Safe and Inclusive Workplace Culture

Employees should feel respected and valued in the workplace, where discrimination and harassment are not tolerated. Regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected characteristics.  Creating a safe and inclusive environment is essential for gender equality in the workplace.

In order to have a safe and inclusive culture, businesses should have clear policies and processes for managing incidents of harassment or discrimination. These policies must be communicated with employees, furthermore, line managers should receive training in managing these situations.

Establishing a safe and inclusive workplace leads to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, increasing productivity and thus, benefiting business performance.

Key Takeaways

Creating a supportive culture may help to make your company a more attractive option for prospective new employees and clients. Removal of barriers to equality will lead to increased innovation and improved performance from employees, especially if matched with more effective benefits packages.

Making sure that harassment policies are active and not just taken can help to promote an inclusive culture which will in turn lead to more attractive working arrangements. There are many benefits to having clear, safe, inclusive and active policies in the workplace.

Contact HR Consultants

Please fill out your details below and a member of our team will get in touch with you.