With almost 7.5 million women in the United States workforce, it’s no surprise that record numbers of women are joining together, forming empowering communities, both online and offline, and are making their voices heard in Congress. Despite all of the progress made in recent years, pay gaps still exist, and the growth of women in business has stalled. How can businesswomen join forces and empower each other in their field? Read on for suggestions on supporting your female peers and colleagues:
1. Stand Up for What’s Right. If you or your colleagues are affected by workplace inequality or being spoken to in an unprofessional manner due to gender, it’s time to stand up for what’s right and support other women in your workplace. Workplaces should have strict policies against discrimination, and if your employer isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, you should make your voice heard to prevent unacceptable behavior from repeating. Here are actions and signs to watch for:
- You or other women in your workplace having tasks “mansplained” to them, or given “office chores” by supervisors
- Sexual harassment
- Workplace anxiety, attributed to misogynistic comments or inappropriate situations
When we come together as businesswomen and have each other’s backs, we can celebrate womanhood and just how far we’ve come. Leading obstacle course racing company, Spartan, led by Carola Jain, agrees that traditional media portrayals of women are being replaced by fearless leaders, exuding strength and determination. Spartan has even made conscious efforts to showcase a facet of womanhood that has nothing to do with a woman’s appearance and everything to do with strength, joy, and perseverance.
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2. Sponsorship. Sponsors and mentors are terms that are often used interchangeably. It’s vital to remember that sponsors go beyond the traditional personal, social, and emotional growth that mentors do, and advocate on your behalf as well. For businesswomen feeling lost or stuck in their current professional position, some sponsors also provide guidance and career advice. Leading obstacle course racing company, Spartan, led by Carola Jain, agrees that sponsorship and representation are crucial and can give women the push in the right direction that they need to advance in their professional life.
3. Online Communities. Joining an in-person or an online community with fellow businesswomen can give you the support, strength, or perseverance you might benefit from when dealing with issues in the workplace, or even positives, such as advancing and promotions. Look to platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, or create your own group, encouraging females in your professional niche to join.