Learning & Development

How important is Learning & Development for Gender Equality?

In 2021 ONS found that the gender pay gap rose by 0.9%. Although still lower than previous years the pandemic has heavily impacted the Gender Equality in the UK.

Furthermore, UN Women expect that in 2030 Covid-19 will contribute to 232 million women living in poverty. This is an increase of 26 million from before the pandemic.

Women have faced the majority of the financial burden and impact from Covid-19. In turn leading to a reduction in progression and more difficulty for them within the workplace.

Mckinsey reported that women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable due to this crisis than men’s. One of the largest reasons being a significant increase in responsibility for women with unpaid care.

With these figures showing the disproportionate impact women are facing, it means as an industry, further action needs to be taken to support these challenges.

But what importance does Learning & Development really have on Gender Equality?

During the 2020 lockdown, it was found that the number of women enrolling for online courses had increased dramatically. This shows the desire to upskill and gain new knowledge was still there.

In fact, it is at an alarmingly higher rate than in previous years. In particular, showing the increased demand for adaptation and the need for online and flexible learning.

The Learning & Development industry plays a large part in ensuring Gender Equality, as it helps overcome obstacles such as these. In this instance, learning interventions can be tailored to address the issues and promote female development within the workplace.

Improving on the progression prospects and opportunities for women can ensure the gap that has arisen since the pandemic begins to reduce.

The key term being ‘progression’, is what L&D is heavily focused on and there are many ways to promote this.

How we can help

You can provide female support and resource groups, promoting bite-size learning opportunities, encouraging chances to develop their current skills, and recommending courses you notice could be beneficial to them personally.

Without workplaces giving an L&D ‘nudge,’ the Gender Equality gap may worsen as women may not get the support needed. It might seem like this industry is a small part of the puzzle, but it plays a large role and therefore this needs to be utilised.

One example mentioned earlier is that there has been an increased responsibility on women with unpaid care. In response to this, workplaces can provide easily accessible and flexible resources and courses which allow them to balance their personal development with their care responsibilities.

However, the best way to engage and find out what is impacting women within your workplace is to ask, gain feedback, and ACT NOW.

Gender Equality surrounds the L&D industry so, waiting for female employees to share their thoughts and taking no action is not the response that can be taken moving forward. Being proactive is the only way to combat the matter at hand.

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