In this post, discover why women need female empowerment in the workplace and how you can promote equal opportunities in your company.
According to a study by the World Economic Forum, the share of women in senior leadership positions is at 32.2% in 2023, nearly 10% lower than women’s overall workforce representation.
And yet, despite countless initiatives and political debates, many companies are only beginning to register the considerable potential of female executives. Here, we introduce five ideas on how you can speed up the process.
Why We Need Female Empowerment in the Working Environment
The causes of this are manifold and often systemic. Throughout the course of their careers, women hit the so-called glass ceiling — an invisible barrier that makes it more difficult for them to be promoted into top management positions.
Unchallenged gender-role assumptions, rigid business structures, a lack of access to informal networks, and the belief that leaders need to be accessible around the clock all also contribute to this issue.
5 Ideas to Promote Female Empowerment at Work
Given this slow progress, it’s important for businesses to take gender equality seriously for real change. However, there’s also some good news: This doesn’t have to be difficult to take on. One aspect in particular comes to the forefront: the ability to communicate appropriately, openly, and sympathetically. Here, we suggest a few approaches to make gender equality a goal on your team.
1. Allow flexible working models
Flex time, or allowing employees to work outside the 9-to-5, in-office model, is still met with some degree of skepticism in Europe, North America, and other major markets — in a German survey, a full 38% of executives claimed flexible work hours were damaging to one’s career, and the debate remains robust in the US.
And yet, resistance to flexible hours makes it difficult for women — who already do most of the household care work and face more limits to their time — to balance career with family. Many women feel forced to decide against career advancement, or, thanks to assumptions about their availability, aren’t even considered.
However, the coronavirus pandemic is only the latest event to show us that flexible and location-independent work is the future. It is high time that businesses question old assumptions and offer contemporary work models.
You can actively contribute to this by allowing work from home, doing away with the 9-to-5 requirement, and utilizing innovative models such as job sharing. Create an easy re-entry for mothers returning from parental leave, and speak often about possibilities for growth — for part-timers as well. And, just as importantly, give fathers the option to use their time to focus on the needs of their families, and create a healthy work-life balance of their own.
2. Watch out for pay disparities
Structural conditions account for about three quarters of the gender pay gap. Women work part-time more often, and fewer women work for their companies’ better-paid departments; they are promoted to management positions less often, and earn a lower average hourly wage. The result? In 2023, women in the US earned on average 17% less than their male counterparts.
If you notice gender gaps in the salary distribution of your own business, make it a priority to rectify this; this is the only way to ensure we move forward from such injustices. Equal work should earn equal pay.
3. Promote good and open communication
Communication plays a central role in any business, but its importance is often underestimated. In order to promote equal participation of women in the workplace, you should be aware of how your employees communicate with each other and their managers.
Set aside time to discuss communication topics with your team, and together define what makes good communication. Cultivate an atmosphere of trust, and make a concerted effort to include the opinions of your female team members. Offer regular times to discuss learning and professional advancement, ask concretely about their wishes and next career steps, and don’t give discriminatory statements a chance.
4. Make a statement about diversity and a tolerant corporate culture
A higher percentage of women at management levels has positive effects on a business’s success — this has been shown time and again through numerous studies. Indeed, companies with a balanced gender ratio at the management level not only record higher sales, but they enjoy a more satisfied workforce, stronger company loyalty of skilled workers, and a more positive public image.
Companies shouldn’t wait any longer to take advantage of the substantial potential of female talent: Increase the percentage of female managers, live the values of an inclusive business and wear those values on your sleeve. In this way, you’ll increase your attractiveness as an employer and have a larger talent pool of applicants. Orient your business philosophy around the core value of diversity, and in doing so welcome more innovation, creativity, and increased profits.
5. Increase your employees’ skill set
Professional development is one of the best ways to support your team, and female empowerment in particular, as your female employees continue on their career paths. Language courses from Babbel for Business offer a long-term developmental benefit in an area that can be used in all aspects of life:
- Learners expand their practical skills by acquiring important vocabulary and language competencies for their daily work. They train in compact lessons that focus on typical communication situations, such as telephone conversation, leading meetings, or writing emails. To this end, Babbel offers a multiplicity of area-specific courses that cover everything from the pharmaceutical sector to the customer service industry.
- In digital language courses by Babbel for Business, women can train in important competencies and soft skills that support career development. Through speaking a new language, women in the workplace gain more self-confidence in their interactions with colleagues and customers. The course contents put linguistic tools in hand, with which women can, for example, successfully lead negotiations, give presentations and manage projects in a foreign language.
By offering language learning, you’ll make an important contribution to strengthening your employees’ skill sets and support female empowerment in the workplace. In addition, continuing language education and the examination of cultural particularities also promotes a change in perspective on your entire team, and thereby brings more tolerance, openness, and equality to your company.