1. Offer Opportunities and Encourage Reasonable Risk-Taking
In contrast to the much criticized cries of “Lean in!” from Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s brand of self-empowerment feminism, it is not enough to merely tell women to step up to the plate; often, women are stepping up to the plate, and they still aren’t getting recognized equally for it. This concept becomes all the more murky and difficult to attain when we consider other aspects that marginalize women, such as race, class, and sexual orientation. In order to better foster work environments of gender parity, those work environments must actively offer opportunities to women of all sects, while also encouraging and rewarding those who take reasonable risks towards innovation and improvement.
2. Diversify Leadership
Your executive boardroom meeting shouldn’t merely consist of a long table of men who all look the same. While women serve in more leadership positions than they did several decades ago, many of these positions are still on the lower end of the decision-making authority spectrum. Diversifying the roster of those you have in leadership positions will only serve to strengthen your organization by broadening your company’s represented perspectives. That difference in perspective can even mean the difference between a successful campaign and an all-out PR disaster.
3. Promote Adequate and Fair Parental Leave Benefits
One of the biggest blockades to bridging the gender wage gap today is a lack of adequate maternal (and paternal, if we’re being honest) pay. Prosperous parental leave policies help to defeat the stigmatization of women leaving and returning to work after having children.
4. Prevent Sexual Harassment, and Cultivate Safe Workplace Environments
Roughly 60% of women report that they experience “unwanted sexual attention, sexual coercion, sexually crude conduct, or sexist comments” while in the workplace. Yet, research shows that only about one in ten of these experiences ever ends up reported due to fear of retaliation. According to a 2017 data analysis, this fear isn’t without cause— 71 percent of charges in 2017 included a charge of retaliation. In order to truly create environments where women can be their best selves, those environments must first be safe. Discourage sexual harassment of all forms, and encourage an open door policy on reporting behavior that makes anyone in your workplace feel uncomfortable.