Empowering Women in the Workplace
Since the 1950s and in the present day, women have been making incredible contributions to the workforce — whether through ingenuity, skill, or both. While diversity, equity, and inclusion principles have come a long way to help make it so, there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to empowering women in the working world.
Inequality By The Numbers
- Women working full and part-time jobs in Canada make, on average, 89 cents for every dollar men make. If trends continue as they are, it will take about 268 years to close the gap.
- Racialized women, on average, make only 59% of white men’s earnings.
- A mere 16% of women and gender diverse people with a physical disability report being fairly compensated compared to their peers.
- Women in Canada hold only about a third (36%) of management roles, and about 40% of senior management occupations
There are many other variables impacting the success of women, too. Mothers, for example, may be unable to work from home without tending to interruptions from their children, and they often contend with long, inflexible work hours and policies that are not family friendly. BIPOC women are often expected to conform to cultural norms that don’t necessarily align with their social identities. They continue to encounter microaggressions and biases around their racial identity in addition to those surrounding their gender. Women from lower socio-economic backgrounds may have trouble affording daycare or accessing a reliable means of transportation to and from their jobs as well, while women overall are often tasked with taking care of aging parents or elderly relatives. All of these factors point to a singular truth:
There’s Work To Do!
Having — and then empowering — women in the workplace is a process with many layers. It offers plentiful advantages too — particularly when those women are in positions of leadership. From increased job satisfaction to higher levels of organizational dedication; less burnout to more employee retention and engagement, women benefit their employers greatly — and here are three tips for how you can support them:
- Analyze your plans, policies, and procedures
Be sure to consider the various experiences of women and how your policies may positively (or negatively) affect them. To start, consider implementing paternity leaves as an option (to offset the pressure on women to halt their careers and take maternity leave), offer maternity/paternity leave top ups, and mobilize flexible working hours to allow women the opportunity to balance the needs of their children and families with the demands of their careers.
- Give women a seat at the table
Look for opportunities to amplify the voices of women and empower them in the workplace. Introduce a “no interruption” policy during meetings, strive to recognize, reward, and compensate women proportionally to men, and be mindful of the stealthy ways in which women are edged out of a full and engaging workplace experience. For example: by centering social events around golf tournaments and other traditionally male-dominated events that women may not be interested in, you could further push women to the sidelines.
- Listen and be empathetic
Don’t make assumptions about women and their lived experiences. Connect with them on a personal, one-to-one basis, and not just during times of conflict or performance reviews. Be intentional about looking for ways to improve their workday experiences, and watch them thrive.
The healthiest of workplaces are those in which people — including women — feel empowered to be their fullest and most authentic selves. As a female led and owned company that has created an inclusive space for all, we can help you better empower women through leadership training, the creation of an HR infrastructure that’s inclusive of women’s growth and development, and much more. Simply contact us to get started!
This blog was written by Julie Ruben Rodney, Founder and CEO, and Johanna Van Bilsen, Learning & Development Specialist. For more information about Diversity and Inclusion, email [email protected] or call 1.888.709.1236.