Women still remain grossly underrepresented within the business world, making up a mere 4% of CEOs within the top 500 companies in the world. There are, however, ways that we can begin creating supportive environments for women to flourish in leadership roles and contribute to the success of a company. Here are just 5 ways that businesses can help support women, break down the gender gap and create an environment of equality.
Do you have a glass ceiling?
There’s got to be a lot of honesty and self-reflection if a company can ever hope to be supportive of women in leadership. Gathering data about your own company can allow you to reflect on your own practices and structure and see where your glass ceiling may exist.
Although there may be opportunities for women to begin climbing the ranks, there could exist a point where those numbers begin to dwindle. Many companies find that their top-level executive board members are significantly underrepresented by women.
After taking a look at an individual company’s structure, it’s no surprise to see the low numbers of high-ranking female CEOs around the world. But, recognizing their own glass ceiling can allow a company to work towards removing it, promoting women based on their merits and not holding them back because of their gender.
Be honest about your gender pay gap
When issues around the gender pay gap aren’t out in the open, they are able to continue to exist. Gender pay gaps are still a problem, and when there isn’t transparency with the issue, they’re allowed to continue being a problem. When companies are honest about the pay gap between genders, they can more easily identify their own internal issues and work to solve them, basing pay on skill and qualifications rather than gender.
Work through the barriers that prevent women from progressing
There are certain barriers that exist that can prevent women from advancing their positions in the workplace. Certain things, such as childbirth, can have a huge impact on their ability to progress their positions at work, as they would naturally need to be absent for a given amount of time. Along with that may come breastfeeding as well. And, while a woman may want to return to work, she would usually be faced with the choice of one or the other.
When companies are able to work through these barriers that women face, it creates a much more supportive space for women to advance. Perhaps a flexible work shift, or working from home may be an option to get around these things, allowing women to still be successful in their work without having to make that difficult decision.
Men are still an important component of your business
Even though there’s a lot of discussion about how to create strong leadership from women, we’ve got to keep in mind that this is about equality. So, while we’re promoting women in leadership roles, it shouldn’t be done in a way that creates an unfair advantage. Creating more equality at work means barriers are removed to create a level playing field for everyone to compete based on merits, rather than whether they’re a woman or man.
Cultivating the next generation of female leaders
Sometimes it takes more than just removing the barriers to help women become their best self. Creating gender-specific programs can help women to overcome issues and inconsistencies that exist. This can include mentorships from senior female talent in a company, who can speak to the qualities and confidence that’s required to thrive in their career. “Having successful women mentor others who are beginning to develop their leadership skills gives those learning a chance to see women succeeding at what they aspire to become. It’s easier to relate to another woman and see yourself in her.
Women continue to be underrepresented in high-level positions in businesses around the world. But there are things that individual companies can do to begin to change that. Creating a more level playing field helps to foster an environment where people are able to advance their position based on the quality of work they do and the skills they bring, leaving gender out of the picture.
Ellie Coverdale is a technical writer and content manager at Write my college coursework service. She is involved it a big tech project and is often invited to teach at online tech events.
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