How Can I Empower Women in my Business?
According to Pew Research, 42% of U.S. working women say they’ve experienced on-the-job gender discrimination1. Even good-intentioned business owners can create unintended roadblocks to female success. Here are five things you can do to ensure you are empowering women in your workplace:
Ask for feedback. Employees are a great source of information and are often happy to share their perceptions of the opportunities for success at your company. Anonymous surveys that assess gender diversity efforts can be eye-opening. It’s essential to listen to this feedback and, where necessary, update diversity and inclusion policies to support empowerment.
Diversify your leadership. The glass ceiling can still pose a barrier to women no matter the size of the business. If your company lacks female representation in leadership positions, you may need to be more intentional about how you recruit and develop staff.
Support mentoring. Help advance women leaders by pairing less experienced staffers with mentors. Companies of all size can provide employee networking opportunities. Don’t be afraid to go outside your business or even industry.
Create equal opportunities. White women earn, on average, 79 cents for every dollar white males earn. Women of color earn even less: 67 cents on the dollar2. You can empower women by conducting pay equity audits and eliminating that gap. You can also support work-life balance by providing equitable parental leave and other benefits. Just be sure your policy aligns with state and federal laws.
Create space for discussion. Amplify female voices by allowing them to be heard. Invite women in your industry to be guest speakers, and make sure all employees--not just women--can attend. Also demonstrate your commitment to diversity by including male and female representation on committees.
The Bottom Line: When you empower women, you send the message that your business welcomes a range of perspectives and ideas. That’s not just good for women - it’s good for business!
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1 Graf, Nikki. “The Narrowing, but Persistent, Gender Gap in Pay.” Pewresearch.org. March 22, 2019.
2 Sheth, Sonam. “7 Charts that Show the Glaring Gap Between Men and Women’s Salaries in the U.S.” BusinessInsider.com. August 26, 2019.