Companies across the country are spending a lot of time, money and energy trying to figure out what it is that women want at work. What is going to attract and retain women? How can they leverage their female talent for greater success?
Here’s the not so secret answer. Women don’t want anything different than what men want at work. They want:
- To be respected, first and foremost, and to be free of unwanted sexual advances.
- To have their ideas valued and be given credit when it’s due.
- To be considered for stretch assignments and evaluated fairly for promotions.
- To speak up in meetings and gatherings without being interrupted.
- To bring their whole selves to work so that they don’t spend enormous energy walking that fine line between being liked and being perceived as competent.
- To have mentors and sponsors to offer them guidance and help them advance to the next level.
- To have access to networking opportunities.
- To integrate their life and their work so that they’re not forced to choose between a fulfilling personal life and a successful career.
- To be valued after they have children.
- To be able to advocate for themselves and share their accomplishments without backlash.
- To have leaders who look and act like them to look up to.
- To be paid fairly.
The workplace of today tends to offer all of this and more to male employees, but falls short when it comes to women, and particularly women of color. There are gender gaps – some quite significant – across each and every one of the above metrics. If we truly want to unleash the full potential of a gender diverse workforce, then we must ensure that we are giving men and women equal opportunities to succeed. We all have a role to play in interrupting the biases that allow these gender gaps to flourish, and there’s no time like the present to get started!
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