In March, we are celebrating Women’s History Month.
What are the best ways for companies to improve the experiences of women at work?
To answer that question, McKinsey interviewed 400+ companies. Insights from the 2021 Women in the Workplace study include:
1. Women are taking more action to support their teams.
2. However, this critical well-being work is going overlooked.
Almost 87% of companies say that the work managers do to promote employee well-being is very or extremely critical.
But only 25% of companies are recognizing this work to a substantial extent in formal evaluations like performance reviews.
3. Women are more burned out than a year ago – and more so than men.
42% of women have been consistently burned out in 2021, compared to 32% a year ago and to 35% for men in 2021.
Almost 40% of women have considered leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers.
4. Top performing companies do things differently to support women and drive progress.
For example, 92% of top performing companies have invested into reducing bias in a virtual environment (compared to 55% for all companies).
58% of leading companies invest in creating a sustainable work culture and encourage new hires to set boundaries around their time availability.
85% of top performers focus on providing mentoring and sponsorship programs for women of color.
Support Women Through Equal Pay
On a worldwide basis, women make only 77 cents to the dollar when compared to men. This income inequality is seen in all industries and all countries. As a rule, women’s work has always been undervalued. Even when a woman and man are doing the same thing, the woman will make less on average.
The gap is even worse for mothers, immigrant women, and women of color. Paying women the same amount as men is the least you can do to celebrate them being a part of your company. This is a great start to how to support women at work.
Let Women Speak – And Listen to Them
Often, women in meetings are in the back and to the sides. These are spots that convey less status. In addition, women often get less time to speak in groups. Interruptions are more common and credit isn’t always given to their ideas. Changing that is another example of how to support women at work.
Encouraging women to sit in the front and center can be a great start to change. It’s also important to make sure women aren’t interrupted and are acknowledged when they speak. If a woman is trying to get involved in a conversation, ask for other points of view to give them a way in.
Equal Opportunities for Career Growth
We talked about pay in terms of how to support women at work. However, that’s not the only way to support them in their jobs. Women should also be given the same opportunities for career growth as the men around them. While times have changed and “men’s work” and “women’s work” is less common, that doesn’t mean everything is picture-perfect.
In most cases, men make up the largest number of senior executives and other high-ranking positions. Women should be considered for these same positions. Gender shouldn’t play into whether someone is considered suitable for growth.
Create a Culture That Excludes Sexism
There is no place for sexism in modern business. Company climate, culture, strategy, structure, and leadership should have no sexist characteristics. As a leader, it’s important to make any needed changes to avoid a workplace where women are treated differently solely based on gender. This is an excellent example of how to support women at work.
It also means that other workers shouldn’t be allowed to have sexist behaviors at work. It’s important to squash this as soon as it happens. Build a culture where everyone is appreciated and sexism isn’t tolerated.
Learn About and Check Your Gender Biases
Women don’t have the same opportunities as men and gender bias plays into this. Even having a woman’s name on a resume can decrease hireability by as much as 61%. Women have to do more and work harder to prove they can do the same things as men.
Leadership style can play into this too. Be aware of how your actions and words are experienced by people of all genders. Adapting what you do to make everyone feel valued is essential as a manager.
Don’t Treat Women Differently
When it comes down to it, women simply want to be treated the same way as men are treated. If you treat everyone the same way, you’re already doing everything you need to be doing. However, most people have more trouble with this than you might expect. Ongoing work should be done to ensure all genders are treated equally.
Honor Women’s Achievements
Finally, make sure you honor the achievements of women. They should have the same accolades and attention as men. This might seem obvious but look around and see if it’s happening. You might realize that you need to make changes while you learn how to support women at work.
There are tons of methods to support women and you want to be known as a workplace that does that. Use the tips above to create a workplace that all genders can flourish in and enjoy.