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  • Guest post: The importance of men championing women at work

  • Guest post: The importance of men championing women at work

    Guest post: The importance of men championing women at work

    Many women will tell you; they already have a tough hill to climb, and 2020 simply made it worse. The past year will pile on to an already challenging environment and present new challenges. For example:

    • It is estimated that four times as many women than men dropped out of the workforce in September 2020. That’s roughly 865,000 women compared to 216,000 men.
    • CNBC estimated in November 2020, nearly 2.2 million women left the workforce between February and October 2020.
    Additionally, men already outpace women in leadership positions by a significant margin. Men and women have vastly different experiences when it comes to work and leadership. Ask any woman in a leadership position and you will hear consistent themes of what was different for her compared to her male colleagues. Many obstacles are self-imposed resulting in a mindset where “women feel they must be 100% qualified to apply for a position while men will apply if they are 60% qualified”.  The bar is set differently for women. The expectations are different for women. Judgement is different for women.
     
    Consider this, “men are judged based on their potential; women are judged on their past performance.” Countless studies show how women are judged more harshly than men when it comes to business, employment and leadership. Where men need to consider competency and masculinity, women have a plethora of relevant and non-relevant criteria that come into play. Appearance, clothing, weight, hairstyle, are evaluated very differently for women than men. Furthermore, women are often doing the “judging” of other women, so this isn’t a “men versus women” problem. It’s an “everyone” problem.
     
    How do we fix it?
    • Understanding and talking about gender barriers and considering solutions for your business is a great place to start. Honestly evaluate your organization on this. It’s easy to assume it’s not an issue. There are countless articles and resources available to help you evolve your company.
    • Consider implementing leadership development programs for women in your organization. Find ways that encourage women to pursue leadership opportunities. Potentially you may not be aware of the reasons that women might be shying away from leadership positions. It can range from confidence, to time constraints, to feeling advancement isn’t available to women in your business.
    • Think like a parent of daughters. Research shows that both male and female leaders that have daughters are more likely to champion gender diversity.
    • Invite women into the conversation. It can be challenging for some women to jump into a male dominated conversation for a variety of reasons including a simple, biological factor of having a quieter voice.
    • Ensure your Board of Directors has balanced representation that includes women. Women accounted for less than 20% of board positions in 2019. Women bring a unique perspective to male-dominated boards, especially in business. Non-profits typically have a higher number of women serving on their boards.
    • Women need to be more confident, have a louder voice and build networks.  Often, the barriers for women are self-imposed. It takes effort and work to get beyond that.
    • Men in the workplace need to support women’s professional growth. Many men want to champion women, but they aren’t sure how. If you sincerely want to know, ask another woman you know in a leadership position. Most are more than willing to support your effort.
    • Women need to support women. Far too often women spend energy on tearing other women down. This makes us all weaker. Empowered women empower women.
    About the author
    As president of Flint Group, Jodi Duncan has a 10,000-foot view of business and the ability to identify where and how it can grow. She is a strategist and communicator known for solving complex challenges. She also is a leader, fostering a fast-paced, challenging work environment that (the right) employees thrive in. She leads by example, working alongside the Flint team pushing for each client’s success. Always pushing for the best, Jodi’s extensive marketing and business background drives Flint Group to discover what sets clients and industries apart – applying knowledge and insights to generate effective communications solutions for clients. Whether you have a large or small budget, moving business in the right direction requires smart, informed communications efforts.
     

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