It’s Women’s History Month! And what better way to honor the accomplishments of women than by creating workplaces that empower them to continue doing amazing things?
This post will explore ways to combat gender bias, uplift women’s voices, and ensure the women in your organization have the space to build fulfilling careers.
Tips for Creating Great Workplaces for Women
Women are integral to any organization, and that should be reflected in workplace culture. Consider these tips for creating an environment that is equitable and uplifting to the women within your organization:
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is critical to advancing women in the workplace. That’s because DEI helps build safer workplaces where everyone feels comfortable and secure, regardless of gender.
For women, DEI promotes compensation, opportunities, and representation that are fair and equitable to their male colleagues. Plus, DEI fosters an inclusive environment where they can flourish.
Here are a few ways to bolster DEI:
- Leadership training on gender equality in the workplace
- Diverse hiring and recruiting strategies
- Internal surveys
- Sharing DEI resources that are educational and supportive
For more tips, check out this resource on measuring and strengthening DEI within your organization.
Career Development Designed for Women
Professional development is its own unique experience for women. They can encounter certain gendered obstacles that men may not, and they may need different types of resources and levels of support. That’s why it’s important to have resources and channels that are designed specifically for women’s workplace development.
A strong approach to this is through women-led programs like leadership councils or ambassador programs. These channels offer women a space where they can safely:
- Share ideas and discuss current events
- Seek guidance from those with similar experiences
- Develop initiatives to help the company combat gender bias
- Host events that support women in their career path
- Network with other women
- Become mentors to emerging female leaders
- Have a platform to speak up about their experiences
Not only will these programs offer the women of your workplace a safe space for career development, but they can also help your organization grow as a whole. They can enable women professionals to call out areas for improvement and drive positive change for your organization.
Boost Representation, Amplify Women’s Voices
It’s important that hiring and recruiting strategies are designed with equal representation in mind—especially in male-dominated fields.
But representation needs to be taken a step further by providing women with equitable avenues to leadership. Did you know only one in four C-suite leaders is a woman, and only one in 20 is a woman of color, despite women making up 47.7% of the workforce? This may be a senior-level example, but it’s really an entry-level issue.
This cyclical and systemic issue is known as the ‘broken rung’—which refers to women being promoted from entry-level positions at a far lower rate than their male colleagues. For every 100 men promoted, only 87 women will also receive promotions. This ‘broken rung’ can start women off at a disadvantage to accessing senior leadership positions, and it only worsens as it progresses up the corporate ladder.
Having women in leadership is at the core of creating a great workplace for women. And to repair this ‘broken rung’, employers need to start at the beginning. Invest in women’s success at the entry–level, design promotion paths for all employees, and advocate equally for women’s promotions.
Another great way to build a workplace with women in mind is to offer flexibility where they work.
A study at McKinsey has shown that only one in ten women wants to work fully on-site at their jobs, and the other nine in ten are seeking roles that offer hybrid or fully remote options. This trend demonstrates how much women value having a choice in where they work. When women work remote, they often cite fewer gendered microaggressions and experience higher psychological safety.
Essentially, remote opportunities cut back on much of the daily gender bias women are exposed to in the workplace. Allowing them flexibility—to work comfortably and according to their own choice—is a great way to ensure your business is a great workplace for women.
Another study found that women are also seeking remote or hybrid options for their compatibility with “childcare, elder care, or other non-job responsibilities.” And they’re doing this at a rate 4-5% higher than men. Although these responsibilities are gradually becoming more evenly shared between men and women, they still fall predominantly to women. By eliminating a commute, remote and hybrid options allow women more flexibility to support their families without sacrificing their career.
Benefits and Perks Geared Toward Women’s Health
To create a great workplace for the women on your teams, it’s important that they know they are respected, supported, and valued. And another wonderful way to accomplish this is through benefits geared toward their mental, physical, and financial health. Here are a few benefits and perks to get you started:
- Fertility benefits
- Childcare resources—onsite care or stipends for offsite care
- Complimentary period products in the office
- An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can support women’s mental health
- A relaxed dress code
- Paid parental leave package
In addition to this list, try using subject matter experts to create educational resources. You can make these specific to the women in your organization by sending out a survey with a list of topic options for them to choose—like advice on nutrition, investing, or career success. Offering educational resources is a great way to support the interests of your employees, make them feel seen, and invest in them personally and professionally.
One Final Note: Avoid Stereotypes
A workplace cannot be great for women until it’s great for all women. To do this, businesses can avoid stereotyping by not assuming all women want the same things, have the same values, or align with the same ideas of femininity. A safe workplace for women will be welcoming to all who identify as a woman.
Here’s an example: Some women are working moms, while others would prefer to not have children. Parental leave and fertility benefits are incredible resources, but don’t position them as your main way of advocating for women. Find ways to appreciate and support the women who aren’t parents, too.
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask the women in your workplace what resources, benefits, and initiatives would best support them. Whether through anonymous surveys or open forums, listen to the women of your organization and utilize their feedback to create great workplaces for women.
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