March is International Women’s Month, and many organizations pause to honor the women, but how often are companies truly supporting women in the workplace? Women have also faced difficult choices when it comes to balancing their professional and personal lives; the pandemic has only amplified these tough decisions. Women play a vital role in an organization’s overall success, so supporting women in the workplace is a crucial element of company culture that needs to be recognized. Here are three ways companies can help women in the workplace.
Provide Development Opportunities
By and large, women have more time away from work for extended periods since they often have more pressure or responsibility to take care of children or other family members than their male counterparts. Whether it’s taking care of small children or being a care provider to an elderly or ill parent or family member, women usually make the choice to put a pause on their professional life for these responsibilities. This is why it is crucial to prioritize providing development opportunities for women at your organization.
Focusing on providing development opportunities, training, and mentorship to women in the workplace is a great way to support them. Valuing their skills and knowledge through growth opportunities will not only help the women on your team level up their professional skills and leadership abilities but also positively impacts your bottom line.
Top talent at your organization, both men and women, want to continue growing their skills. However, it’s important to ensure the women in your organization have the same access to these opportunities. If these development opportunities happen outside of office hours, some women may be excluded since they have other responsibilities like taking care of children or other family members. Organizations should make every effort to provide training and growth opportunities that fit their employees’ different lifestyles.
Include Women in Influential Decision-making
We already know that diversity and representation contribute to more innovative thinking and ideas, but women are underrepresented on top leadership levels. Women’s voices and interests need to be reflected in the decision-making processes. We also need to ensure women are represented on task forces and response teams.
Women can bring new perspectives to decisions that affect the company that may not even be on their male counterparts’ radar. This, of course, doesn’t take away from the knowledge and expertise these men bring, but men and women have different experiences that they use to make these decisions. Bringing these different perspectives and experiences together can only serve to benefit the influential decisions a company makes.
Support Working Mothers
Women have disproportionately had to decide between their career and family responsibilities, especially with the pandemic. More often, women are the ones who’ve made the professional sacrifice to stay home and take care of children or other family members. If they don’t leave their work, they often feel anxious or pressured about if they are doing the right thing or not to levels that men just are not. This is why it is so important for companies to support working mothers.
Organizations should take the opportunity to adopt gender-inclusive and family-friendly workplace policies and practices. This can include flexible work capabilities that can disrupt gender stereotypes, change traditional narratives, and encourage a more balanced share of care and family responsibilities. As we continue to face fast-paced changes being accelerated by the pandemic and social justice movements, companies need to continue evaluating and assessing their current practices supporting their working mothers while reflecting sensitivity and empathy in all communications.
Women are an essential part of a company’s make-up, but they need to be supported by the organizations they work for. Companies must support women in the workplace by providing growth opportunities that fit their lifestyle, include them in influential company decisions, and putting practices and policies that support working mothers.
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