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5 simple things men can do to help women be more successful at work

What men can do to help Workplace equality

Gender bias and discrimination continue to plague the workplace, impeding the progress of women in their careers. Research conducted by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company reveals that women possess equal ambition as men when commencing their professional journeys. However, they often encounter micro-aggressions, shoulder additional unpaid labor, and face various barriers that hinder their advancement. To realise true gender equality, it is imperative for more men to become allies in the workplace.

It is crucial to acknowledge that when women thrive in the workplace, it benefits men as well. According to LeanIn, men who collaborate effectively with women and leverage the talents of a diverse team consistently outperform their peers.

Here are five actionable steps that men can take right now to support their female colleagues:

Interrupt the interrupter: 

Numerous studies have shown that men tend to speak and interrupt more frequently than women. Although interruptions may seem insignificant, they serve as powerful tools for asserting status and power in the workplace. In meetings, women may feel compelled to remain silent when interrupted, fearing damage to their reputation if they speak up. This is where male allies can make a difference. Actively listen for instances where your female colleague is interrupted and step in to interrupt the interrupter.

Give women credit for their ideas: 

Research indicates that women receive less credit for their contributions in group settings compared to men. Often, a woman will express an idea in a meeting only to be met with indifference. However, moments later, a man may restate the same idea and receive credit for it. To ensure that your female colleagues receive the recognition they deserve and their ideas are not overlooked, employ a technique called amplification. As an ally, reiterate what she said during a pause in the conversation and explicitly credit her by name. This simple act can work wonders in rectifying the imbalance.

Find ‘brag buddies’: 

Women are frequently discouraged from openly discussing their accomplishments in the workplace. When they do share their successes, they often face negative reactions, being labeled as “abrasive” or “pushy.” One effective way to counter this is by encouraging men to partner with their female colleagues and become “brag buddies.” Set up regular coffee chats, whether weekly or quarterly, where both parties can discuss their achievements and reflect on something they take pride in.

Take paternity leave: 

If paternity leave is available, men can contribute to leveling the playing field for women in the workplace by taking advantage of this benefit. Paternity leave demonstrates support for both their partners who are having a baby and their female colleagues, as women are typically more inclined to take parental leave and assume primary caregiving responsibilities. Moreover, taking paternity leave benefits fathers as well, fostering stronger bonds with their children, as reported by the ACLU.

Let women decide what is best for their careers: 

It is vital to avoid penalizing women for their career decisions. Instead, respect their autonomy and allow them to determine what path is best for their professional growth. Refrain from making assumptions about their aspirations or penalizing a female colleague for declining an opportunity. By embracing this approach, men can create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

In summary, believing in gender equality necessitates translating that belief into action, whether at home or the workplace. Men have a pivotal role to play as allies, advocating for and supporting their female colleagues to overcome gender bias and discrimination, thereby fostering an environment of true equality and trust.

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