Despite the many strides that have been made toward equality over the last five decades, most workplaces remain extremely male-dominated. In addition to making more money on average than their female colleagues, men are more likely to be promoted to leadership roles and enjoy various other professional perks. Since getting ahead in this type of environment – and certain industries as a whole – can be an uphill battle if you’re not a man, it’s important for women to support one another in the workplace and provide invaluable encouragement and assistance whenever possible.
Mentor Other Women
Providing guidance and mentoring to new hires is another great way to support female colleagues. Even if you’ve only been with a company for a short while, sharing the breadth of your experience with fledgling coworkers can help prevent them from making rookie mistakes and ensure that they have the right tools to excel in their roles. If you had a good mentor, this can be a fantastic way to pay it forward. Conversely, if no one ever took you under their wing, you can use this as an opportunity to give another woman the type of guidance you wish you’d had at the outset of your professional journey. The more women you mentor, the more women they’re likely to mentor – and the more empowered women within your organization are likely to feel.
Celebrate Other Women’s Accomplishments
There are some people who simply can’t stand to see others get ahead and won’t hesitate to make their dissatisfaction known when colleagues receive promotions or accolades they feel are undeserved. To be fair, awards and promotions aren’t always merit-based. As is the case in virtually every other area of life, being well-connected and presenting oneself in a certain light tends to get people noticed more than actual accomplishments in many workplaces.
Still, regardless of whether or not you feel that certain rewards are deserved, you should make a point of not disparaging the accomplishments of female colleagues. Not only does such behavior contribute to a toxic work environment, it helps perpetuate the stereotype of women not getting along in the workplace. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should only celebrate the achievements that receive wide recognition. Whenever a female coworker takes on an active leadership role or goes above and beyond the call of duty in any endeavor, make sure their efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Don’t Accept Double Standards
To say that gender-based double standards are a huge problem in many workplaces would be an understatement. Far too often, behaviors for which men are lauded get women ostracized and passed up for promotion. For example, men in the workplace are commonly praised for being forthright and brutally honest, while women who exhibit the same qualities are generally labeled as “unpleasant” and “opinionated.” So, the next time you encounter a coworker decrying such behaviors in women, ask them if they’d have the same opinion if a man did the exact things they’re complaining about.
Nominate Women for Leadership Positions
If you’re in a position to do so, make a point of nominating other women for leadership roles within your organization. Not only is this a great way to reward female team members for their hard work, it provides other women in your workplace with something to work towards. By showing them that their efforts can facilitate tangible rewards, you’ll help illustrate that your company is a place where women can get ahead. Furthermore, encouraging female colleagues to take part in a women’s leadership programme can be a great way to prepare them for expanded roles.
Although the working world has become more female-friendly in a number of areas, there is still extensive room for improvement. Even seemingly balanced workplaces see female employees being demeaned, undervalued and harassed on a frustratingly regular basis. Such conditions often facilitate the need for women to form their own support networks and provide encouragement to their female peers. It’s no secret that the professional world is rife with toxic environments. Unsurprisingly, these types of workplaces are veritable breeding grounds for sexism and other forms of discrimination. Women looking for effective ways to advance their careers and get ahead in male-dominated fields should consider the benefits of supporting one another at work.
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