March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. This month is also an opportunity to recognize the ongoing struggles women face in the workplace and the importance of recruiting, promoting, and retaining women leaders.
Women’s History Month has its roots in International Women’s Day, which was first celebrated in 1911. In the United States, Women’s History Month was first declared in 1987, and it has been celebrated annually ever since. While women have played crucial roles in fields ranging from science and technology to politics and the arts, many of these contributions have been overlooked or undervalued. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to rectify this by highlighting the achievements of women throughout time.
This month also provides the opportunity to acknowledge that despite progress made towards gender equality and equity, women still face a multitude of challenges in the workplace. For example, women are often paid less than men for doing the same job. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn only 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This pay gap is even wider for women of color, with Black women earning only 63 cents and Latina women earning only 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.
Women also face barriers when it comes to career advancement. Although women make up almost half of the labor force, they hold only a small percentage of top leadership positions. According to McKinsey & Company, women make up only 38% of first-level managers and only 22% of C-suite executives.
In addition to this, women often face workplace harassment and discrimination, which can make it difficult for them to succeed in their careers. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 42% of women in the United States have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, and 22% have experienced sexual harassment.
To address these challenges and promote gender equity in the workplace, it is important to focus on recruiting, promoting, and retaining women leaders.
Here are some of the best ways to do this:
1. Implement policies and practices that promote gender equity: This includes offering equal pay for equal work, providing family-friendly benefits like paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements, and offering leadership development programs specifically for women.
2. Create a culture that supports diversity, equity and inclusion: This includes actively seeking diversity in hiring and promotion decisions, providing training on unconscious bias and cultural humility, and fostering a workplace culture that values different perspectives and experiences.
3. Provide mentorship and sponsorship opportunities: This includes pairing women with mentors who can offer guidance and support, as well as providing opportunities for women to be sponsored by senior leaders who can advocate for them and help them advance in their careers.
4. Ensure that women have equitable access to opportunities for advancement: This includes providing access to training and development programs, as well as ensuring that women are considered for leadership positions at a rate that closes the gender gap that exists in senior level roles.
5. Hold leaders accountable for gender equity: This includes setting goals and metrics for gender diversity, equity and inclusion, and holding leaders accountable for meeting these goals.
Women’s History Month is an important time to celebrate the contributions of women throughout history while also acknowledging the ongoing struggles women face in the workplace. By removing barriers to recruiting, promoting, and retaining women leaders, we can work towards a future where gender equality and equity is the norm.
A note from our Founder & CEO Jackie Kindall
The good news is that typically the biggest investment in mentorship and sponsorship is TIME. My hope is that more senior level executives view sponsorship and mentorship as part of their day to day responsibilities and invest the time because it’s time to close this gap once and for all.
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