How Managers Can Be Better Allies To Women In The Workplace

International Women’s Day is March 8th this year, and while it doesn’t rank up there with the “big” holidays in the year, its importance can’t really be understated.  After all, women make up slightly more than half of the world’s population and even in the most progressive, enlightened parts of the world, there are still plenty of systemic imbalances and a surprising amount of inequality to be found.

If you’re a manager or a small to medium-sized business owner, and you want to do something to help combat those imbalances and inequality, then hands down, the single most impactful thing you can do is to be a better ally to women in the workplace.  But how?  What does that mean, exactly?  What does it look like?

If you’ve been scratching your head trying to find an answer to questions like those, keep reading and we’ll give you three tips that will put you firmly on the path!

Work Life Balance

It’s important to remember that in the overwhelming majority of cases, work-life balance means something different for a woman in your employ than it does for a man.  Women tend to have, and shoulder, more of the “at home” responsibilities, so if you’ve got women working for you, it pays to talk to them and find out what their specific pain points are where the work-life balance equation is concerned.

Granted, you may not be able to completely accommodate them, but being aware of what and where those pain points are and doing what you can is a fantastic beginning.

Create Networking Opportunities

Whether we like to admit it or not, in many ways, the corporate world is still, by and large, a “good ol’ boys network.”  Men typically have more robust professional networks, which leads to more mentoring opportunities, which leads to more and faster promotions.

You can begin to change that by taking the time to help foster and create women-centric professional networking opportunities and make the conscious choice to be sure that more women are given mentorships in areas of responsibility you control.  Change begins with small steps exactly like this!

Embrace A Culture of Diversity

Your corporate culture may be limiting your women employees.  If you’re worried that it might be, then it’s probably time to take a long, hard look at your corporate culture and see what you can do to start changing it.

This is best done with a steering committee made up of a diverse group of people currently in your employ.  As long as they know they can talk about your company’s culture freely and frankly, without fear, you’ll get honest feedback.  When you do, pay attention to it.

Even if you think you’re in a good place, you’ll undoubtedly learn where you could make additional improvements.  Wise is the manager who listens and takes that feedback to heart.

Naturally, there is a lot more you can do, but if you start here, with just these three things, you’ll be miles ahead of most of your competitors, and that’s a very good place to be!