Ways to Empower Women in Business

women in the workplace
by Rae Steinbach

How to Empower Women Within Your Organization

You’ll hear a lot of talk about how vital it is for business leaders to make efforts to empower women in business. Unfortunately, much of this is just talk or what has come to be known as hashtag activism.

If you really want to help women succeed, you need to get beyond the talk and engage in tangible efforts toward making the business world friendlier toward women. Empowering women in business is key, but there are better ways than others for how you can go about doing so. The following are a few simple things anyone can do to help.

Respect Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is usually seen as a positive trait in men. When men push their own interests, they are seen as assertive, driven or as a person who recognizes their own value. For women, the perception is often different. Many people view self-advocacy from a woman as being pushy. If you want to empower women in business, simply don’t treat them differently when they take action to empower themselves.

Self-advocacy is one of the keys to advancing your own interests in a business setting. When a woman does something like ask for a raise or chase a promotion, it should not be viewed in terms of a double standard.

Recognize Differences

Business leaders need to recognize that different people measure success in different ways. For many, climbing the ladder and making more money are the most important accomplishments. However, there are also those who place personal accomplishments in a much higher regard. Along with that, you will also have people who take more pride in the achievements of a team.

There is no right or wrong way to measure success. Men and women will often seek out different careers and approach those careers in different ways. As long as the individual is satisfied with their goals and they meet their obligations, it is not the place of any other person to judge their success or their choices.

Stick to Reality

If you want to empower women, you should do it based on real facts. The gender pay gap is one of the most persistent myths in the professional world, and it distracts from the real issues that currently hold women back.

Making an effort to empower women in business is admirable, but you won’t make as much of a difference if you are focusing on a false narrative. Try to identify the real issues that women face and adjust accordingly in order to address them.

Don’t Think of Them as Just Women

Trying to help women in business is a great first step, but one of the best things you can do is to stop thinking of them as women. Instead, just think of them as people. You should treat women in the exact same way you would treat a man in a given situation.

Network with women in the same way you would network with men. If you mentor younger men at your company, try to reciprocate that mentorship with young women. When you see a job opportunity or a chance for advancement, recommend these younger women for the position if they are a good match.

Women do face professional challenges that don’t always affect men. While taking steps to empower women is a good way to help level the playing field, there is something to be said for women who take empowerment upon themselves. Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, the majority of your success is going to come from the efforts a person makes on his or her own behalf. Of course, it is always beneficial for a company to support self-starters and encourage equality within the organization.

About the Author: Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.

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