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What Is A Gender Gap Audit?
April 16, 2019

Kelly Cooper Kelly Cooper
Senior Consultant,

Communications Expert

A “gender audit” is a baseline assessment for companies that want to develop an understanding of where they stand on a range of gender-related issues. Depending on the company’s objectives, these indicators can include:

       Gender diversity among staff

       Potential for men and women to be promoted

       Retention of both male and female staff

       Suitability of the physical work environment for men and women

       Extent to which gender diversity is a demonstrated priority in recruitment

       Extent to which men and women are equitably consulted in community engagement

Gender audits are highly customizable, meaning that all companies can use this audit tool to establish a baseline, identify gaps, and suggest potential measures for improvement on gender diversity and inclusiveness. Gender audits can be conducted for a whole organization or for particular business units. They are essential for starting or improving on gender diversification. For companies developing an initial gender baseline, a gender audit of the whole company is recommended. It can be repeated periodically, with more frequent repetition in specific business units as necessary.

In an effort to answer the question “where do I begin”, a gender gap audit is a good place to start.

Baseline assessments and monitoring of actions implemented are useful for a number of reasons:

       It will quickly identify the areas that require attention

       The gaps identified form the basis of a gender strategy

       Monitoring the implementation of the strategy is key to a sustainable shift in the workplace

       Allows for a benchmark for employee surveys to determine what level of change has taken place since a gender strategy was enacted. Surveys can help employees feel engaged in the corporate change process and be a great litmus test for an organization to see employee satisfaction on actions undertaken.

How do I get started?

Step 1: Get Senior Executive Buy-In – Obtaining a commitment from senior management is the first key step to moving toward a workplace that has gender equity. It will require financial and human resources to conduct a gender audit and subsequent gender strategy that will address the gaps identified in the audit. Providing the C-suite with a business plan that is tailored to your particular organization will help secure the resources needed to conduct this work.

Step 2: Conduct an Organizational Assessment on Current Practices – Through a combination of employee surveys, interviews with various levels of employees in the organization including senior management, and focus group discussions, the gender auditors will assess the current situation. This baseline data collection process will provide concrete information for both the gender auditors and the C-suite to show progress made over time toward a gender balanced workplace.

Step 3: Gender Audit to Gender Strategy – The gender audit will identify gaps in the policies, practices, and organizational culture that when addressed, will lead to a gender balanced workplace. A gender auditor can help your organization move from the gender audit results to a fulsome gender strategy that will engage both your internal and external stakeholders along toward a gender balanced organization.