How to better support women in the workplace

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Aoife Geary - Independent Jobs

From the gender pay gap to the underrepresentation of women in senior roles, we’ve a long way to go before we reach gender parity in the workplace.

Employers need to make a conscious effort to be more inclusive throughout the lifecycle of an employee, beginning at the hiring stage.

Is your company doing their bit to affect change?

Here are 3 ways companies can show their commitment to a fairer, better, more productive workplace.

Consider your parental leave

One of the biggest contributors to the gender pay gap and gender inequalities 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.

Offer mentorship

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.

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