In recent years, only 40% of the workforce in more than 80 countries is made up of women, but due to technology and movements for equality, the gap between genders in the workforce is slowly decreasing. However, despite the changing times, the workplace still has its own share of gender discrimination and biases that need to be resolved and put into light.
Series of workplace bullying, harassment, “preferences,” and pay inequalities put women at a disadvantage, which often leads to holding themselves back from coming forward and accelerating.
In today’s diverse and competitive workplace, the need for women to have each others’ backs and empower each other is more important than ever. Here are 8 ways women can support each other when the workplace won’t.
8 Ways Women Can Encourage Each Other to Succeed in the Workplace
1. Be a Mentor
In the industry, people are highly competitive, especially when climbing the career ladder. In a situation where matters and positions are at stake, you should not fall into the traps of competition. Success is best earned when you’re putting people up, not down.
You should build a relationship founded on mentorship and support. Instead of competing, share valuable advice and provide counsel and guidance when the going gets tough. Whether it’s having a step forward the hierarchy or developing a startup, women should be mentors and not competitors.
2. Be an Advocate
Apart from self-empowerment, you should assert your role and power for the benefit of others, as well as your team members. The more you lead and manage, the more necessary it is to become an advocate for improvement and change.
3. Be a Friend
According to a workplace harassment study by Opportunity Now, 52% of women have experienced bullying or harassment at the workplace. Most of the time, women are routinely excluded and compromised by their co-workers. The victims are mostly women with disabilities (71%), women of African-Caribbean descent, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Harassment and bullying come in many forms. From being blocked from training and promotion chances, being threatened, under major supervision, and given unfair treatment, women have worked through it all. The sad thing? The lack of support from coworkers who are constantly putting each other down.
If you have a fellow woman employee who is a victim of harassment, be a friend. Don’t drag each other down for competition to amplify your strength and work position. Don’t waste your talent just to damage another woman’s reputation.
4. Be an Educator
While women are slowly changing the C-suite patriarchal nature, there’s still the underlying fact that men hold most of the top positions and have the power and influence in higher management. Apart from supporting your female coworkers, you should become an educator and engage with men to resolve such gender issues.
Likewise, women in top management should be the proprietors for diversity and progress and include men on developing solutions to such problems. It all starts with educating and promoting what’s right and just. From the policies and procedures, you should explain the challenges women face and bring out the benefits for each one.
5. Be a Promoter
Considering how hard it is for women to climb the ladder in some companies, the most humbling thing you can do is to promote other women’s success and acknowledge your management potential.
A lot of talented women are contented with the current flow of things instead of being proactive about promotion opportunities. Get serious about you and your coworkers’ careers. Reach for the top even when circumstances fail to do so.
The danger in being content with what you currently have is that you fail to see what’s beyond it all. Don’t just excel in your job, ask for leadership.
6. Be an Achiever
A Catalyst study claimed that women who are proactive in making their achievements known advanced further and were more satisfied with their careers. There’s no harm in accrediting your own and others’ accomplishments and dedicating your willingness to advance consistently. Don’t let others bring you down on your way to success. Your achievements are yours and no one can take that from you.
The next time you or your female colleagues feel that the workplace norms will hold you down, think about your acquired success. Will you let things just go by when you have the capabilities to stand out?
7. Be an Opportunist
More often than not, women can move forward through career and social opportunities in which resources are abundant, as general threat levels and gender and behavior norms are looser. This gives women the ability to enlist and work around the workplace with impunity.
“Striking when the iron is hot” can be helpful to women, especially in companies who still have gender restrictions. While risk-taking can be a dangerous approach, you and other women colleagues just have to make sure you have the right timing and resources first.
8. Be a Sponsor
While mentor programs are highly recommended and helpful, most women are over-mentored and under-sponsored, according to Harvard Business Review.
Whereas a mentor listens and provides care and support, a sponsor has the position and influence to uphold your career among the ranks. A sponsor must empower and advocate for women, and aid in the promotion and handling of big projects.
If you hold a position in the high ranks, be on the lookout for promising female employees and take them in as proteges. Most younger females find it hard to make a break in a company, so you, as a sponsor, should help them advance.
Likewise, you should also build a relationship with a female senior executive and ask to become sponsored. Remember, sponsorship is the way to go, but you should also cut each other some slack from high expectations. Learn from each other along the way.
The world is changing. The people, the economy, and societal perspectives go with the flow of the times and be a progressive movement across the world. It’s no longer a “man’s world” for women who support and stand with each other in the workplace instead of a shared world for both genders. It may be a tough road, but you best be on the way to it.
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