This year, International Women’s Day was March 8th, 2019, and we want to celebrate gender equality with the communicators of Austin. As an organization committed to creating a shared network of female communicators, we encourage you to realign yourself with your goals and values as a female in the workplace.
Below are a few suggestions for how you can contribute to International Women’s Day and use the platform as a way to amplify what you believe is the most difficult obstacle you face in society. The hashtag this year is #BalanceforBetter, so don’t forget to share your progress and perspective on social media.
6 ways you can improve gender equality:
#1 Encourage women around you to go outside their comfort zone.
Often times, the perception of gender inequality in professional settings can create unnecessary boundaries. Encourage your female colleagues to take initiative in meetings and contribute their ideas. Also take the time to assess their opinions and expand on them critically. Even if ideas were not productive, rather than simply lending an ear, try to build upon their ideas and bounce off of them in a way that encourages them to keep trying. This is where being a great mentor (or having a great mentor) can help women build confidence in anything they do. The great thing about communicators is that their empathy and curiosity for others makes them great at supporting and uplifting the people around them.
#2 Share your voice on social media.
Don’t stay quiet. Trending topics can create entire movements. With social media being one of the major forms of communication, it is not hard to make your voice heard. Action can only be taken if enough people recognize the issues that women face in the workplace. Do you have a story that you think would help someone recognize the current environment for women in the workplace? Did you come across an article that represents shocking statistics on the pay gap between men and women? Share it on social media and amplify your agenda.
#3 Don’t be shy about your success.
So many people have achieved great things in their lives, but fail to recognize it for themselves. Don’t be shy to apply for that job or expand on your experiences. For communicators, some suggestions might be to create a portfolio that you’re proud of, or to get a professional photo for your LinkedIn. Share your success, because it is a big deal. Celebrate every turning point in your career and reward yourself for advancements.
#4 Recognize talent in other individuals.
If you work with someone you believe has a lot of potential or has taught you something profound, let them know. Nominate them for an award or share their content if you believe it is valuable. One of the easiest ways to promote gender equality is to support each other and create a feeling of unity and appreciation.
#5 Promote flexible hours.
An interesting observation about the professional world in 2019 is that hours are more flexible than ever before. Many women and men have the ability to work from home, own their own businesses, and manage their own hours. Due to this flexibility, families no longer follow stereotypical roles. Many men stay home and take care of their kids, and often times women stay at home and work simultaneously. If you are a manager at a company, consider making your hours more flexible. This allows both women and men to share roles at home. As an added benefit, your employees will be happier and more efficient during office hours.
#6 Stand up for other women.
This one may seem like a no brainier—but many times, people don’t speak against statements that imply prejudiced behavior, to avoid offending upper management. Small comments such as describing potential new hires as “soccer moms” who would not fit in with company culture, can promote a long standing record of gender inequality. We encourage you to take the initiative as a communicator and stand up against those types of statements. As communicators we can voice opinions and ideas in a way that changes the direction of a conversation without offending the other person. Get creative with your technique and practice it every time you hear a gender stereotype.