Let’s start with a simple fact: being a woman in the workplace isn’t easy.
HR Leaders the world over are talking about Gender Diversity – 30% women, 40% women, better yet, 50% women.
All this is good on paper, but what is being done to build inclusive workplaces?
Wondering how you can create a women friendly workplace?
A true gender-sensitive organization has more women on board and has a female friendly work environment that allows them to grow and thrive as professionals without emulating a man’s way of working.
In this article, we’ll discuss how companies can create women-friendly workplaces where women are safe and thrive.
Women Friendly Workplace: Quick Stats
To give you a sense of where things stand – Here are some quick facts:
Mothers are less likely to be employed compared to fathers and women without children.
By 2030, an estimated 40-160 million women may need to transition into higher skilled roles, necessitating higher education or upskilling. (Source)
Very few women are CEOs of the world’s largest corporations. As of the May 2019 Fortune list, only 33 women (6.6%) were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. (Source)
Globally, women earn 16% less in average hourly wages and 22% less in median monthly wages. (Source)
Senior-level women are facing heightened pressure both at work and at home. (Source)
In total, 64% of women said they faced microaggressions at work—with an even higher rate (71%) of lesbian women saying the same—compared to about half of men. (Source)
Black women are less likely than women or men of other races to feel supported by their manager.
35% of women in full-time corporate sector jobs have experienced sexual harassment. (Source)
Women Friendly Workplace Best Practices
Success will look different for different organizations, but two things are clear: Companies need to address the heightened challenges women are facing, and they need to better support women at work.
1. A Quarterly Meetup
Organizing timely meetups for the women in your organization can help create a women-friendly culture in your organization.
It will bring the female workforce together and provide them a chance to know each other. It can be a platform where women can discuss any issues or suggest new ideas.
2. More Women Leaders
Even though women have started getting equal opportunities in the workplace, very few get to rise to the top leadership positions. Organizations must aim at having women leaders that impart a sense of diversity from a top-down approach.
3. Anonymous Feedbacks
Sometimes, women don’t feel comfortable discussing a situation or talking about something that is troubling them. Build a platform where women can share their views, highlight any issues, and suggest any ideas anonymously.
4. Spread Awareness
Sometimes, enacting a real-life scenario is more impactful than sending an email to your employees. You could organize a small play or skit that highlights discrimination or small issues that women face in the workplace.
It would help create an impact and make people realize any misconduct or partial behavior against women.
5. Zero Tolerance Policy
Any comments, remarks, or jokes that make women comfortable have no place in an organization. Make sure that you have a zero-tolerance policy and provide an environment where women feel no hesitation reporting any misconduct or harassment.
6. Take Care of Well-equipped Restroom
Women are physiologically different than men, which is why organizations must take their needs carefully into consideration.
For example, having a provision for sanitary napkins in the restroom would not just make women feel more comfortable but also relaxed in situations of urgency.
7. Top-Down Approach
Having more women leaders always helps. Start by getting your CXOs involved – sensitize them and make them aware of having a diverse workforce and more women leaders.
8. Appreciate Your Women Workforce
Make sure that you focus on the growth strategies for the women in your organization. Some companies fail to use the skills and opinions of their women employees to their full advantage. Provide them equal opportunities and appreciate their efforts.
9. Department/Leadership Level Diversity
Even today, organizations have biases when it comes to leadership in different departments. For example, finance departments usually have men as leaders, while HR has women.
Make sure you set the right standard by including diversity and not making decisions based on gender.
As an organization, you must focus on providing a mother-friendly environment where working mothers are not bound to their duties outside the work hours. It ensures that they have their complete focus while they work and peace of mind at home.
11. Flexible Work Schedule
Giving new mothers a flexible schedule to work helps them stay connected to the organization along with respecting the new phase in their life.
New mothers would love to have options like working from home or freelancing. So that their workload is less, but they are still a part of the company.
12. Maternity Engagement
At some point in time, women working for a longer duration in your organization will go on their maternity breaks. But, that doesn’t mean they are no longer a part of your company.
Organize an open house for women employees where they can give their relevant inputs on recent developments.
13. Monthly Newsletters
A lot of women on maternity breaks feel disconnected from their organizations. They barely manage to know what is going on at work. To prevent this, you can send out monthly maternity newsletters or arrange a call from a teammate, with work information related to their department.
It will help them stay connected and get back to work without anything missing.
14. Hire Through Women-Only Hackathons
Hire through women-only hackathons, events, and community. It would help find the finest candidates in talent acquisition and encourage the hiring of women at all levels of an organization.
15. Keep New Mothers Part of the Appraisal Cycle
Women who are on their maternity leaves are often feel neglected during the appraisal cycles. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Make sure you value the women in your organization for their contributions by including them in the appraisal cycle and making them feel a part of your developing company.
16. Child Care Support
Women with young children often find it extremely challenging to balance their work and not worry about their kids.
As an organization, you can offer onsite child care support or partner with a local childcare facility to provide a space for their children (with adequate care).
17. Conversation and Training After a Maternity Leave
When new mothers are finally ready to come back after their maternity leaves, make sure you provide them with sufficient time to have a conversation with the team.
It would help them understand all that has been going around and be sensitive about it.
18. Non-stressful Roles for New Mothers
The transition back to work from maternity leave can be challenging for women. The work stress and childcare leave them exhausted.
As part of the women-friendly culture, you can out new mothers in non-stressful or time-intensive roles and gradually let them make the transition.
19. Women Safety Measures
Women are taking more intensive roles that demand greater devotion and time. It also means leaving the workplace late at night sometimes. You must provide them company transport and ensure that they reach home safely.
Also, make sure that you have surveillance cameras and security staff in and around the workplace.
20. Evaluate a Female Perception
If you’re a man running an organization, you might not have the same perception as the women in your organization.
Make sure you provide them a chance to speak up about issues and use the feedback and suggestions to evaluate your organization from the eyes of your female employees. If anything demands attention, take the right steps immediately.
21. Have Anti-Harassment Policies In Place
If a woman in your company is ever a victim of harassment, she’ll need your complete support just to make herself heard. Create anti-harassment policies to find the culprit and dole out a punishment. When Sexual Harassment occurs against any female employee take all necessary and reasonable steps as per the applicable rules and regulations.
As Oprah rightly said:
Women silently bore the harassment because they had mouths to feed and bills to pay.
Women Friendly Workplace FAQs
According to new research, listed firms where at least one-third of the bosses are women have a profit margin more than 10 times greater than those without, it suggests.
Less than half (47.7%) of all women participated in the labor force, a decrease from 50.9% in 1990. (Source)
In simple terms, gender equality is the equal treatment and access of your female and male employees to opportunities and company resources. A company that practices gender equality treats men and women the same.
Read this complete guide (above mentioned), here you’ll find some women-friendly workplace best practices.
Companies with a diverse workforce make better decisions and grow rapidly. Here are some benefits of diversity:
– It ensures a variety of different perspectives.
– It leads to higher creativity and innovation.
– It solves problems quickly and better decision making.
– Higher employee engagement and low employee turnover.
– It improves the company’s reputation.
Now It’s Your Turn!
What are you doing to create a women-friendly workplace? Would you love to share your tips or experience? Please drop your thoughts in the comment section below.
Originally published on Dec 27, 2019 05:16 PM, updated March 01, 2021