Now is an excellent time for women in business. A report from McKinsey found that over the past few years, we are seeing more women in higher levels of corporations, to the effect that more businesses (and more consumers) are benefiting from diverse perspectives.
Still, we remain far from true gender parity in the workplace — 36 years by one estimate.
Progress toward gender equality is slow, and the COVID-19 pandemic might have set equality efforts back a decade or more. During the pandemic, women have suffered doubly: Both by the closure of their employers and by the closure of childcare services, with the effect that more women today are fighting gender stereotypes inside and outside the workplace. Right now and into the future, women in business deserve as much support as possible.
The True Value of Women Supporting Women
For our culture to eliminate the glass ceiling and for workplaces to establish gender parity once and for all, everyone needs to support women. Every human is responsible for the betterment of society, to build organizations with diverse leadership.
Bringing more women into the workplace will help bring more diversity into every level of an organization. This benefits not only individual female workers but the business as a whole. Women are each other’s greatest allies, as they are aware of the struggles their female colleagues face which helps them to be better equipped to help women navigate workplace challenges and reach success.
What Women Can Do to Show Support To Each Other
Here are a few ideas on how women can better support other women.
Be encouraging. The modern workplace can be a bit discouraging for women at times, so they should do what they can to help each other feel welcome. This includes advocating for more female candidates during hiring processes, encouraging female employees to speak during meetings, and encouraging them to request the promotion they deserve.
Celebrate accomplishments. There are different types of accomplishments worthy of recognition, including small wins, taking steps to gain the knowledge and skills to develop your full professional potential as a leader through development or an online women’s leadership program, winning a career-related award, and earning a promotion. Publicly acknowledging achievements within your teams and authentically spotlighting great accomplishments are a few things you can do.
Offer feedback. It is typical for a female worker to receive less feedback than a male coworker, and the feedback a woman will receive usually isn’t useful in her career. Women can support one another by offering to fill in the feedback gaps. Unsolicited advice isn’t useful, especially if it isn’t actionable; women should look for the right opportunities to give constructive feedback that encourages career growth.
Speak up for one another. Women should speak up for themselves and other women if needed. Women can pay attention to the attempts of women around them to speak and offer support. In meetings, women can call attention to ideas from other women, and elsewhere in the workplace, women can work together to amplify their voices.
Question descriptions. A number of adjectives used to describe women in the workplace tend to have a negative connotation, such as “bossy” or “shrill.” These descriptions are rarely applied to men, so it is worthwhile to question those using these terms to better understand what they mean by them. Often, women who garner these terms are doing their jobs as men would; they are not being “bossy,” but instead they are functioning in their role as leaders. Ultimately, these descriptions are detrimental and should be avoided, or called out.
There has never been a better time in history for women to succeed in business, however, women still need plenty of support and allies to find success. Ensuring that women have the right support is the best way to reach gender parity in the workplace.