International Women’s Day is here again – a day to celebrate the achievements of women and a call to action in the ongoing fight for gender equality.
A day is great, but it got us thinking. What can we be doing to support women in our workplaces all year round? So, we’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can start making a difference.
#1 Check your bias
The thing about bias is that’s it’s often unconscious. We can hold opinions in favour of or against a person based on their gender without even realising it. The first step to keeping your bias in check, is to recognise how it might be showing.
How do you treat women co-workers? What language do you use to describe them? Are they ‘bossy’ where a male colleague might be ‘assertive’? What about performance reviews? Do you have the same expectations of women as anyone else?
While reflecting on your own behaviour, why not ask your co-workers for feedback on how your bias or prejudices may be presenting at work? Or try this Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Harvard University that measures personal attitudes and beliefs that you may not have been aware of.
Taking stock of our bias and changing our behaviour accordingly is a great step towards achieving equality in your workplace.
#2 Give a shout out
Are women getting the credit they deserve at your work? In many workplaces, women are given less credit for their accomplishments than their colleagues. This can then have a knock-on effect of women being overlooked for projects or promotions.
If you notice this happening at your workplace, look for ways to shout out their contributions. Speak up if credit isn’t being given where credit is due. It’s a pretty simple change to make, but it can have a huge impact on the culture at your work.
#3 Make room
This may seem an obvious step towards achieving gender equality in the workplace, but it’s worth checking.
Do women have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions at your workplace? Are they included in worker consultations with management? Are women given a chance to speak in meetings?
If not, it’s time to make room!
#4 Share the load
How are the workplace chores distributed at your workplace? You know, the stuff that isn’t really anyone’s job but needs to get done – maybe it’s note taking in a meeting, organising events, unpacking the dishwasher, or showing around new staff.
Is this done on a volunteer basis? Are the same people volunteering, and do they always tend to be women?
It may seem like a small thing, but these kind of tasks can take valuable time away from core tasks, not to mention feed into some pretty outdated stereotypes.
#5 Join your union
Workplaces have come a long way when it comes to gender equality and that’s in a large part thanks to the union movement. Basic rights like equal pay and maternity leave were won by unions but there’s still more to do – together we can do so much more. Are you in?