In this year’s International Women’s Day, we’ve seen an abundance of strong women in the workplace come out with their own experiences of hardships, harassment, and hopes of change in all areas of the business environment.
Here at Triple Three Solutions, we have loved seeing the push for change for women in all workplaces. Especially, since we are female-fronted ourselves. We have directly experienced and lived some of the tales being told by so many.
In our next two posts, we’ll be focusing on the topics of how to support women in the workplace and how to push for equality and inclusivity in your business, to consider and give the proper amount of detail and guidance needed to make an impact in the business world.
So, the big question is: How can we all do our part to support women in the workplace?
First, we’ll run through some of the issues women feel, experience, and struggle to speak up on, within their employments.
Women in The Workplace Feel: Undervalued.
Many women feel as though they must fight for their recognition by others, and to have men see them in a more professional manner. Proving intelligence has become an expectation for women, with male colleagues seeming to almost always take the lead in innovations and ideas within businesses, and are women left to fight to show their own suggestions and be heard.
Women are actually interrupted three times more often by men (George Washington University, 2014), so it’s understandable they feel unheard; and plus with 63% of females feeling underappreciated at work, the combination of each of these areas results in women getting the impression their efforts don’t matter in their job role.
Women’s Health: Not Taken Seriously.
Periods and pregnancy, menopause and mental health; the premise of women’s health is misunderstood by the masses.
Women are often joked at when discussing their issues, with belittling comments and downplaying feelings being a common occurrence in workplaces. Experiencing this can lead women to feel burned out in their employment, and may result in them adding themselves to the staggering figure of the 1 in 3 women who considering leaving their workforce or downshifting their careers. (Lean In, 2021.)
Some also feel they are being penalised for wanting to partake in motherhood by their workplace, with the question of “Are you really going to come back to work after you have your baby?” being asked too often, and the stress being put on expectant mothers can result in possible physical stress, as well as mental stress.
Women Experience: Harassment.
Women in all kinds of workplaces have felt harassed or bullied by men, with four in ten women having had experienced some form of unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace in their time.
They can feel ignored and unsupported in their experiences, with a large number of companies not having the proper systems set up to listen, act on and support those having been through harassment at the workplace. With this, comes the silencing of women who have received any form of harassment; as without any systems in place, who are they meant to go to? What if they are ignored or put down for their experience? More actions need to be taken by companies in protecting women in their workplaces.
So what can you do for the women in your own workplace?
Let’s bring all of this together and narrow down what we can all do in our own businesses to help support women.
Have a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination and harassment.
Show your employees you care and do not tolerate this type of behaviour. Having a supportive and action-driven HR system shows you care about those in your business, so make sure it’s up to standard. If it isn’t at its best, we’re here to help.
Do not have a one-size-fits-all approach.
Each person’s experience is different. Don’t assume and generalise every case to be the same as the last. It can diminish their faith in you and your business, so be there to listen and adapt to suit their needs.
Make health and parental leave normal.
Show that having time off for health or maternal reasons is okay. Employees experiencing excruciating period pains shouldn’t have to commute to the office if they can work from home. Those going through menopause shouldn’t have to feel as though they should stay silent in their symptoms. Speak openly and honestly about the things women go through and support them along the way.
Let women in the workplace lead.
In the UK, women hold 34% of mid-market senior leadership roles. It has actually risen by 5% compared to last year, but obviously, it still isn’t enough.
Show young women that women can lead, and keep this percentage on the rise.
Identify possible biases.
We’ll touch on biases more in the next post. But identifying your own possible biases and taking accountability is key to the growth of your HR system.
Taking the right steps to help women in the workplace is needed. And seeing these steps be taken shows the power women have. And whilst it can still feel like we’re running behind, don’t forget:
We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. – Emma Watson
Even the smallest of steps make a difference.
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Are you looking to further support the women in your company? For help on this and any other HR Support, please feel free to get in touch. Call 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.