International Women’s Day is about celebrating the accomplishments of women. Even better, it’s a great day to assess how your company can further improve its efforts for gender equity at all levels of your organisation.
When you empower women in the workplace, you allow them to have more control over their careers. By investing in training, mentoring, equality programs, education grants, and promotion into senior-level positions, you ensure their career growth, which is essential to creating long-term employees.
Thankfully, many companies already have policies in place to encourage and empower women to find workplace success. Here are a few ways you can empower women in your company.
1. Find ways to amplify the female voice
Start by allowing women a heard voice at the table. If a woman has a great idea, champion her and make sure she gets the recognition instead of letting someone else take the credit.
Provide public speaking opportunities for female employees, both internally and externally. Make sure there are networking opportunities in your company that allow everyone a chance to engage with senior management.
Invite inspirational women to speak at the office, and make sure that all employees can attend—not just women.
Lastly, if your company is invited to participate in a panel, refuse to take part if there is no female representation on that panel. Empower women by giving them a voice and making sure they are heard.
2. Diversify leadership by promoting women
Make sure that high achieving women in your workplace are recognised equitably in your succession planning. Have active, ongoing conversations about advancement opportunities and set career goals during quarterly reviews.
Encourage women to pursue opportunities at every level of the corporate ladder. Open up your talent pipeline equally to all employees. By promoting women as much as men, you show they are valued, and you are invested in growing their skills and potential.
According to a Catalyst study, Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the board outperform other companies — with 53 percent more return on equity, 42 percent more return on sales, and 66 percent more return on invested capital.
3. Establish goals for improving gender diversity
Change doesn’t happen overnight. You need to start by seeing how you are currently operating in terms of gender diversity.
Start by asking for suggestions on improvements your company can make – and then really listen to what your employees say. From the information collected, establish business goals for improving gender diversity in your workplace.
Once you have these goals in place, make sure the rest of the company is aware of your new initiatives. Educate, and make sure all goals are implemented consistently across every line of business.
You can’t just set goals and hope they magically work to empower women – you need to work at making your goals a reality.
4. Equal wages for equal work and experience
When it comes to equal pay, women still earn an average of 21 cents less on the dollar than their male counterparts. This gap widens further for women of colour. When women feel like they are being cheated out of fair pay, they don’t feel valued at work.
One simple way companies can remedy this is to conduct pay equity audits. Look for discrepancies between pay rates. Then ensure that all employees with equivalent experience in a similar role are paid the same as their counterparts – no matter an employee’s gender or race.
5. Fair parental leave policy
As a company, you are responsible for enabling mothers and fathers to find a functional work-life balance even if they are working from home.
An equitable parental leave policy will take the complexity out of women returning to work. A shared vision and respect for parents in your company will allow all employees to know they will be valued no matter what decisions they make, family-wise.
Empower women and men at your company who decide to become parents.
6. Participate in out of work activities that empower women
When you plan a fun corporate event that is outside of the office, make sure that it is an activity that is accessible for all employees.
Take this a step further and plan activities that positively empower women at the same time. Consider booking activities through an organisation that helps you bond as a team and empower women in the community at the same time.
Visit.org is an excellent example of an organisation that can help you do just that. They have highly vetted, carefully curated social impact experiences in over 90 countries. This means you can choose an activity that specifically supports marginalised women.
7. Recognise we still have challenges ahead
Despite all the work companies are doing to empower women, there are still plenty of challenges ahead. A report from PwC gives us a sense of the scope of these challenge’s that women face in the workplace.
Of those survey, 44% of women felt nervous about the impact of having a family on their careers. Less than half of the women believe their company is doing enough to combat gender inequality. 31% say they believe their gender, sexuality, or ethnic background could curb their career progress. While of the 27% of women who received promotions in the past two years, 63% had negotiated for it.
The good news is that when women do speak up, they get noticed and rewarded. When women are mentored and championed, they quickly grow into leadership roles. As a direct result, their companies revenues grow year over year.
We need to make sure we give women opportunities to be heard and advocate for them through all levels of business. Start today to ensure your policies and goals empower women throughout your company.
Looking to create gender diversity and empower women in your workplace?
The fastest way to make a change is to implement it into your hiring practices. Work with us to ensure you have equitable hiring processes in place and continuously look to improve on them though active feedback. Connect with one of us today! Let’s work together to make your company the success it should be.