Women empowerment is a trendy topic nowadays.
It’s easy to share girl power quotes or change your profile picture during Women’s History Month.
But are you walking your talk when it comes to supporting women in the workplace? Be honest…
If the answer is no, we’ve got 10 practical ways to support women in the workplace.
Let’s jump right in and discuss how to be an ally to women at work.
And why it’s important to support women in the workplace.
Why Is It Important To Support Women In The Workplace?
It’s important to support women in the workplace because it promotes job satisfaction, employee engagement, high performance, and positive company culture.
Plus supporting women can help with recruitment and retention. All of which can impact a company’s bottom line.
Not only is supporting female colleagues the right thing to do. But it’s also a win-win for everyone involved.
How To Support Women In The Workplace
1. Amplify the Accomplishments of Women
Here’s what you can do to share the accomplishments of women at work:
- Give credit where credit is due
- Create a workplace culture that normalizes sharing wins
For example, if you’re a team leader, allow space during weekly team meetings for colleagues to share project highlights.
- Encourage women to elaborate on their accomplishments if you notice them downplaying their contributions.
- Highlight the contributions of women in rooms they can’t access.
According to Crystle Johnson, Founder of The DEI Coach and Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Nike – “nothing says you support a woman in the workplace like risking your social capital to speak about her in rooms she’s not in and with people in power who trust you.”
2. Let Women Speak
Gender inequality in the workplace can be subtle or more in your face. Interrupting a woman when she speaks is a subtle way of enabling gender discrimination in the workplace.
Carla Stone, President of the World Trade Center Delaware recommends waiting a few seconds before responding or saying something after a woman speaks.
This is particularly true for situations in which a woman may be the only woman or one of very few in a male-dominated conversation, workshop, or forum.
“Give her words enough light to shine,” says Carla.
3. Promote Women
You can promote more women at work through intentional acts of career advancement support for female colleagues consistently over time.
How To Promote More Women At Work
- Mentoring or sponsoring women
- Assigning women high visibility projects
- Offering Training and Development opportunities
Everyone plays a role in helping more women get promoted.
However, Maly Charbonneau a Partner and the Head of Marketing at Welcome Spaces warns against promoting a woman just because she is a woman.
Maly says that “everyone knows when someone should not receive a promotion, and it sends the wrong message.”
Plus, every woman promoted after the fact will send the message that ”she just got a promotion because she is a woman.”
4. Establish Policies That Promote a Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is another trendy word thrown around by companies nowadays.
However, if you’re serious about supporting women in the workplace, you’d help adopt policies that promote work-life integration.
If you’re not in the position to do this, you can always bring up the idea during your next company All-Hands meeting.
Grace He, People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com, says that policies such as no-work emails after 7 pm and on weekends, can help establish a more flexible and inclusive culture.
By recognizing the unique needs and challenges faced by working parents – particularly mothers – you increase employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention says Grace.
5. Promote Pay Transparency
Another way to support women at work is to pay women equally.
While you may not have direct control over the salaries of your female colleagues. You can play a role in promoting pay transparency.
Be open with your co-workers and applicants about the pay range for a position.
Encourage your employer to adopt a minimum base salary for jobs within your company.
If you’re in a decision-making role, consider a company-wide salary audit that examines the differences in pay between genders for the same jobs.
And make salary adjustments to eliminate discrimination against women in the workplace.
Promoting pay transparency starts with normalizing the sharing of salaries to close the gender pay gap.
6. Defend Women
If you find yourself in a situation where a woman is being unfairly treated. Don’t just sit back and let her fend for herself. Defend her.
Standing up for women in the workplace, calling out microaggressions, and protecting the reputation of a well-meaning female colleague are all steps to being an ally to women at work.
7. Refer Women
If you know of a woman who is excellent at her job. Take note of that. Should an opportunity arise that could leverage her talents, refer her to it.
The same goes for the women in your network. Refer women-owned businesses or services to potential clients. These small actions make a huge difference.
8. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
Women often have to juggle multiple roles, such as caring for children, which can make it hard to commit to full-time working hours, says Maly Charbonneau.
According to Maly, providing flexible working arrangements such as
part-time or remote work options can enable women to balance work and
family responsibilities. This can also include providing access to childcare.
Offering affordable, high-quality childcare can help support working mothers and improve their work-life balance. Some companies have on-site childcare facilities or offer subsidies for childcare costs.
9. Invest in Developing Women
There’s no better way to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to supporting women than investing in them.
There are many ways to invest in developing women in the workplace. Here are some of them.
How to Develop Women In The Workplace
- Help establish a peer mentoring program for female colleagues
- Offer to sponsor a female co-worker
- Offer to train or onboard women at your workplace
- Help establish a recruitment committee that builds a pipeline of promising female candidates
- Recommend women for challenging projects
Be generous with your time and knowledge when it comes to developing your female colleagues. Consider your efforts as investing in tomorrow’s leaders.
10. Be Consistent With Your Support
Your support of women in the workplace shouldn’t start and end with Women’s History Month. Female allyship should be a year-round affair.
Before you log out of work each Friday, ask yourself this – “Have I supported a woman at work this week?”
If the answer is no, take a few minutes to review this list. Find a simple way to help a sister out. Consistency is key when it comes to empowering women.
Empowering Women In The Workplace
Supporting women in the workplace is a community effort. And it all starts with you. We hope this article gives you practical ways to become an ally to women at work.
If you’re new here, check out our NetWerk Shop for gift ideas for female co-workers. Whether they’re struggling with self-promotion, underemployment, or developing as a leader. Our resources will set them up for success.
Over To You
What steps will you take to better support women in your workforce? Let us know in the comments section on social @netwerkmovement. Share this with someone looking to make a difference at work.