Women are awesome! They are known to handle more than one complex task at a same time with awesome results. Yet, at work, one of the biggest challenges women face on their way to the top is that most work and live in a world, culture, and system that is designed for men. Without the proper infrastructure, women are unable to achieve their desired career success.
We can say that though women today are more empowered, confident, and more bold than ever, this didn’t happen overnight. There’s a long list of advocates for women’s rights and these ones played a huge role to help get us to where we are today. These champions have fought long and hard for equality, and they continue the fight today.
We don’t have to leave the battle for them alone. Are you an employer, or a colleague? You can join in the cause to making the workplace better for women.
Here’s what you can do;
Champion pro-women policies in your organization:
Getting women to the top will require effort from all sides. This has to start by mastering our internal challenges in our organizations to help these women in navigating a system designed for men. The first thing to do is to raise our concerns and ensure they are being addressed.
You can play an important role in this by joining staff networks and affinity groups that push for such changes. Sometimes all it takes is creating awareness. We cannot change what we are not aware of. Talking about challenges can transform minds, and this can be achieved through active campaigning.
Actively Promote Women:
Many women have a general frustrating story to narrate; they don’t get heard. They complain that they suggest an idea at a meeting which goes unheard and 15 mins later when a man suggests the same approach, he is smothered with accolades.
Although this scenerio has been reduced, there is still a long way to go. If one woman makes a suggestion, she and her ideas should be acknowledged and if the idea works, appreciate her. That way more workable ideas will flow.
Take into account employees’ demands outside of work:
When your team gets together to bond, when and where do they do it? Saturday golf/tennis tournaments? Afterwork drinking sessions? These most likely will not work for a woman who is catering to her kids and household chores.
Make sure that the activities you choose are things that appeal to everyone and that you don’t exclude team members with family responsibilities, which might mean they have less free time. Try planning a Friday morning volunteer outing or a potluck at lunch hour.
Support women after marriage and maternity:
Those with experience say childbirth is a physically, mentally and emotionally testing experience for a woman.
The story goes that a new mother never gets rest. She continually puts her baby over her own needs and is stressed with little or no sleep. After three months of doing these chores, these sleep-deprived women are expected to come back to work and join where they left off! They are often forced to forsake feeding their children because the workplace is too far off.
It is a challenging time for women and companies need to ensure they give women a fighting chance. A generous paid maternity leave, flexible work hours, options to work from home and a family-friendly workplace can be put together to ensure these women can cope with all that’s on their plate.
Create space for onsite child care:
Your organizations can additionally try to incorporate onsite childcare facilities wherever possible. This might not be easy to implement, but many companies have successfully done so already.
Studies have shown that employee performance is higher and absenteeism lower among employees using onsite versus offsite childcare. These affected employees feel valued and work harder to exceed expectations. Onsite childcare helps reduce tardiness and stress, while alleviating separation anxiety.
If you don’t have the luxury of space, give these women the privilege of going home early to cater for their babies.
Another great idea could be to change the look and feel of the office, a little bit of flowers here and there can go a long way in making the office more habitable for women.
Getting the workplace to become better for women is going to take the deliberate effort of both genders. The world can be a better place for so many if gender equity at work becomes a reality.
What’s your gender equity story? Please share with us in the commend section.