5 Tips To Create A Culture of Female Empowerment in A Male-Dominated Industry
Women are increasingly breaking barriers in male-dominated fields. Department of Labor statistics show that the percentage of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields has risen steadily since 1970.
The most significant increase in social science and math occupations has been seen, rising 44 and 32 percentage points, respectively. According to HR Digest, 57% of women participate in the U.S. workplace.
However, according to McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace” survey, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are encouraged—despite 87% of companies stating their devotion to gender diversity. It’s clear that although women have made some headway when it comes to gaining equity in the workforce, there is still work to be done.
While the leadership of corporations can and should encourage gender equity in the workforce, what can middle management or entry-level employees do to support the cause of female empowerment in the workplace? Here are some tips.
Remember the Golden Rule
There’s a reason some old maxims stick around, and the Golden Rule—treat others the way you want to be treated—is no exception. It applies to all aspects of the workplace, including communication.
Remember when your mother told you not to interrupt others? Some people do not because a paper published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology showed that both men and women are more likely to interrupt when speaking with a woman than a man. Sociologists have observed interrupting attempts to assert dominance in a conversation.
Observe the conversations taking place in your office. If you notice yourself (or someone else) attempting to be heard over a woman, speak up. Do not allow a voice to be silenced simply because another voice is louder.
Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor
Developing a mentor program within a workplace can impact professional development, accountability, and networking. A CNBC survey about workplace happiness found that nine out of ten workers in a mentorship relationship are satisfied in their profession, including 57% who said they were “very satisfied.” However, an Olivet study showed that 82% of men had mentors, compared to 69% of women. Fight this discrepancy in your office by asking for or starting a mentorship program.
Attend or Ask for Training
One crucial step toward female empowerment is education. Understanding our innate biases can help break barriers and open communication channels in the workplace. If your employer does not offer training in gender equity, meet with your human resource representatives to see if it is possible. In addition, ensure all employees have access to job training that can promote professional growth.
Ask for Equity
It’s never easy to question authority, but if you see inequity in the workplace—whether it’s happening to you or a co-worker—find a way to politely and professionally point it out. Be sure to find the appropriate time and place to address it and bring it to the attention of stakeholders that can impact the situation.
See Potential, Be Inclusive
Hundreds of decisions per day are made in an office. Go out of your way to ask for insight or ideas from females who can offer insight or another viewpoint. Allow junior team members to participate in high-level meetings or projects to inspire growth and expose them to decision-making. All people—including females—are motivated to perform well when they know they are valued in the workplace.
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