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Gender diversity is a key component of any company’s success — particularly when it comes to leadership roles. While society as a whole strives to rectify the current pay and leadership gender gap, those who hold a lot of influence and power to implement the necessary changes are women currently in leadership positions.

If they’ve already shattered the glass ceiling at their own company, then women are well-positioned to reach out a hand and bring others along with them. The first step is to learn how to have productive conversations that are action-oriented and optimistic, which can help in lifting up fellow female professionals.

Key Takeaways

  • Open conversations can not only improve the current workplace environment but have an impact on the next generation.
  • Blind review and hiring processes can help ensure equal pay for equal work.
  • Encourage flexible schedules for both men and women to level the playing field for any employee who is also a caretaker.

Be Honest and Encourage Open Conversations

Facilitating conversations around the gender gap creates an open and honest environment in any company — no matter how diverse the company may be. In an ever-changing workplace, the advice that a female leader shares with those around her can have an impact on generations of workers to come. These conversations can also show them that it’s a good place to work as a female, further retaining employees.

It’s important to recognize that gender inequality is an issue faced by many, even as employees rise up the management chain. According to Catalyst, only about 4.8% of CEOs, and only 26.5% of executive and senior-level officials and managers in S&P® 500 companies are female.1

Implement a Blind Review and Hiring Process

According to Analytics in HR, by removing personal traits like gender, race and age from the evaluation process, your company can increase diversity and even revenue. This process reduces unconscious bias — or a “bias [that] tends to be unfair and discriminatory because much of the personal information that is presented is generally unrelated to his or her on-the-job performance” — giving all candidates the same opportunities.2

In addition to a blind review process, ensure that your company is doing bi-annual or annual reviews of its hiring processes to ensure unbiased candidate evaluation steps are followed — maintaining fair and honest HR processes is important.

Offer Flexibility

According to SHRM®, the main cause for a gender gap in pay is not that men are paid more for the same work as a woman, but that they’re more likely to be promoted, faster.3

Aside from gender bias, this stems from the trend that women are still seen as the default primary parent. However, in actuality, more and more men are becoming caretakers as companies have evolved to include better paternity leave policies.4 Offering flexibility can be an incredibly powerful tool for closing this gap and leveling the playing field for promotions.

Foster a Culture of Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Company culture is an important factor to weave into the fabric of any business. Everyone should feel comfortable sharing their ideas and having their voices heard. There should be equal opportunities for employees to grow and reach their professional development goals. The implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives can impact the company’s bottom line by fostering the innovative ideas of your employees.5 Initiatives such as these help to create equal opportunity and close the gender gap.

When discussing the gender gap, whether you’re speaking with peers or reports, it’s important to make sure that your discussion stays fair, honest and results-oriented. While this is an issue that our society has struggled with for decades, it’s important to remember that the gender-related wage gap can be solved.

The Support You Need

For more Key4Women resources to help you reach your goals, visit, or email us to learn more.


"Knowledge Center: Women CEOs Of The S&P 500." Catalyst. Accessed January. 24, 2019.


Min, Ji-A. "How Blind Hiring Increases Workplace Diversity." AIHR.


Miller, Stephen. "Close the Gender Pay Gap with Career Parity." Society for Human Resource Management. Accessed April. 10, 2018.


Fuhmans, Vanessa. "More companies introduce paternity leave and tell fathers: ‘If you don’t take it, it’s borderline idiotic’." Market Watch. Accessed July. 11, 2018.


Schulze, Elizabeth. "Closing the gender pay gap could have big economic benefits." CNBC. Accessed March. 8, 2018.

S&P is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”).

SHRM is a registered trademark of the Society for Human Resource Management.

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable, but it is not represented to be accurate, complete or objective. is a federally registered service mark of KeyCorp.

KeyBank is Member FDIC.

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