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Employee Experiences

The benefits of gender inclusive policies and practices

Dr. Toni Schmader, Dr. Michelle Inness, Dr. Valerie Davidson, Dr. Elizabeth Croft, Dr. William Hall

Full Report

Relevant White Paper

Summary:

This report outlines initial findings regarding the relationship between gender inclusive workplace policies and practices and key employee outcomes such as organizational commitment.

Data were collected from 269 professional engineers (148 female; 121 male) and HR personnel at their employers

  • They came from 28 companies across six engineering sectors (Consulting Services, Utilities, Communications, Transportation, Government, Primary and Resource Industries, Construction and Manufacturing, and High Technology)

Data was collected on several measures

  • Employee attitudes towards the organization
  • Employee & HR ratings of gender inclusive policies at their organization

Key Findings:

Finding 1:  Women report less commitment to their organization than men.

On average, female engineers reported feeling significantly less valued by their organization, reported less organizational commitment, and a greater intention to leave their company compared to their male colleagues. These mean differences remain significant even after controlling for gender differences in employee’s status at company and employee age (men were older and had higher status).

Finding 2:  Men report more gender inclusive policies at their company than do women. 

HR reports of policies were subtracted from employee reports to create a difference score for which positive numbers indicate overestimation and negative numbers signal underestimation. On average, men significantly over estimated the number of gender inclusive polices at their company. Women tended to be accurate or underestimate the number of gender inclusive policies.

Finding 3:  Men, more than women, reported that people in their organization had positive attitudes towards all of the policies.

On average, men reported significantly more than women that people in their organization had positive attitudes towards all gender inclusive policies and practices. This was especially true for polices designed to encourage an inclusive culture and policies to ensure equal recruitment and retention of women. Attitudes were assessed using a 1-7 scale that ranged from Very Negatively” to “Very Positively”.

Finding 4: Both men and women reported benefiting equally from gender inclusive policies.

On average, both men and women reported benefiting equally from all categories of gender inclusive policies. Note that benefits were assessed using a 1-5 scale that ranged from “No, I have not benefited from these policies” to “Yes, programs like these have benefited me a great deal”.

Finding 5:  Both men and women report more positive organizational outcomes when they work for companies that have more gender inclusive policies, where employees have positive attitudes toward those policies, and when they personally benefit from them.

On average, men and women feel more organizational commitment when they report working in a company that has gender inclusive policies, where employees have positive attitudes toward those policies, and when they personally benefit from them. This pattern of results was also present for feeling valued and intentions to leave. For correlations broken down by the specific policy types see the appendix to the report.

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