Over the past few years, the role of women in the workplace has become more respected, and more opportunities have opened up. However, even with these incredible achievements, there is still work to do. Having a few major companies making an effort to empower their female employees is a good start, but the ultimate goal is to make it a trend throughout the whole country and, eventually, the world. So, how can you do your part? Here are a few ways you can begin to empower your female employees within your own business.
Give Them Equal Opportunities
Opportunities in the workplace for females begin with equality. No woman wants to be handed an advancement; they simply want to have an equal opportunity to succeed in their respective fields. This all begins with your management team. It is important to hold regular training about what to look for in terms of obvious and subtle discrimination. Secondly, you must then practice what you preach and work toward removing any gender pay gap. Lastly, don’t patronize. Complimenting women merely for the sake of doing it can be seen as condescension, which is almost as bad as discrimination. Your compliments, awards and opportunities should always be based on work performance and nothing else.
Recognize Their Unique Challenges
A level playing field will only work once all obstacles are removed. This means understanding and recognizing the unique challenges women face in the workplace. Utilize a town-hall style meeting with all your female employees to determine what areas you and the company need to work on. Sexual harassment is a broad category and includes several behaviors that may be less obvious to many employers. Consequently, it’s also important to educate yourself using both professional and personal resources. This will allow you to come up with a better approach.
Amplify the Female Voice
Providing women with a voice in the workplace is an important step, but you can do more. A good way to really amplify the female voice is to go public. Provide women the opportunity to speak on behalf of the company. This can not only show the public that you are working toward equality but also provide female employees with important opportunities. You may also invite strong female figures to speak at your meetings or any time there is a large gathering of your staff.
Although female equality has come a long way, there is certainly a lot of work left to do. Thus, it is important for business leaders to utilize the tips listed above to begin empowering women within their organizations.
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Cynthia Corsetti is an Executive Coach and Speaker. If you’d like to learn more on how her C.A.R.E. to Engage system can help you create an engaged workforce in your organization, you can email her at: [email protected]