“Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s the smart thing to do.” Barack Obama on International Women’s day, 2013
While the health and safety practices in the workplace help it survive, proper empowerment of its women employees help it thrive in the corporate market. Here are some suggestive practices to adopt to ensure that you are doing your best at providing a work environment which allows the women in your workplace to thoroughly flourish as individuals and as workers.
Help Them Integrate & Network
Institutional biases have often held back women from excelling in the past. Study suggests that women often lose out on career-building opportunities as they doubt and second-guess their abilities. Moreover, since the corporate sector is still somewhat male-dominant, the connections of the women in the workplace are limited. It becomes all the more important to guide them in their path by putting them in contact with useful resources and people in the industry.
The potential of a worker cannot be determined until it’s put to the test. Therefore, it is suggested to put women in charge of projects, teams, etc. As they are often overlooked for leadership positions, it is vital that you give them the opportunity to prove their worth, even if they haven’t had such experiences before. Try to highlight those who you think will handle the responsibilities well, even if they were disregarded and underestimated in the past.
Organize Talks by Inspirational Women
As far as methodologies go, nothing can defeat visual learning. The impact of witnessing presentations, speeches and seminars held by other women who are at the top of their field, and having them inspire you to follow their footsteps is immeasurable. As a corporate strategy, it is advised to invest in and invite successful, motivating women keynote speakers at conferences for empowering the audience and harvesting the best results.
Be PoSH Compliant to ensure Safety
An endangered employee is not empowered. An establishment which does not protect its workers and is not compliant with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment law, cannot claim itself to be a sound place of work. One of the best practices inculcated into the office culture is effective PoSH training. Equally important is investing in the best resources to form and train a strong Complaints Committee.
Bridge the Confidence Gap
Various experiences of industry professionals show that while under-prepared men have no trouble putting themselves up for promotions, overqualified and over-prepared women still, at times, hold themselves back. In the same study, it was found that women applied for a promotion only when they met 100% of the qualifications, and sometimes, not even then; while men applied when they met 50% of the requirements. This clear gap of confidence in women employees can only be bridged by adopting and applying practices which reaffirm their belief in themselves.
Lastly, it is advised to accept and embrace the different strengths every woman brings to the table. With time and calculated effort your office can surely transform into an abode of empowerment. Happy Women’s Day!