Want to celebrate women this International Women’s Day? Then stop sharing inspirational quotes on Instagram and start thinking about how you can better support women everyday.
Here’s 3 ways you can show your commitment to a fairer, better, more productive workplace.
Consider your parental leave
One of the biggest contributors to the gender pay gap stems from unequal parental leave. There is still an expectation that women should bear the burden of parenthood when it comes to taking leave from their careers and staying at home to mind their children. This expectation is fuelled by the contrast in parental leave entitlements. Poor paternity leave policies mean that fathers have less opportunity to stay at home and care for their children while mothers have less opportunity to return to work, often to the detriment of their career progression- and their salary. Consider how your company could offer better parental leave to benefit both men and women. Also consider how you could offer greater flexibility around schedules to better support working parents.
Call out toxic masculinity
Toxic masculinity refers to harmful attitudes about how “real men” should act. It fuels antiquated notions like men should suppress certain emotions and in a workplace context it encourages hyper competitiveness, posturing and a need to appear dominant. It means that anyone who doesn’t fit this depiction of a strong man is somehow less valuable or deserving of success. It’s not just damaging to women but any man who doesn’t fit within these tight parameters. Create a better culture for everyone by not allowing aggressive behaviour to be labelled as the only way to “get shit done”. It’s not.
There are not enough women in senior leadership or C-Suite roles and it’s an issue that sprawls the majority of companies and industries worldwide. One of the reasons often cited for this disparity is that women lack the ambition or confidence to put themselves forward for these roles – and so miss out on the highest salaries. If this is true, employers need to put supports in place to counteract that. Mentorship programmes can be a great way to build skills and confidence with a senior employee guiding a more junior one through potential difficulties in the workplace. Women supporting women is one of the strongest frameworks for future success.
Does your company do great things for women in the workplace?
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