It’s time to stand together and do more when it comes to advocating women in the office.
We’ve pulled together five cardinal rules to help you better advocate for the women around you. Because every team experiences the occasional misfire. We may be the better sex, but we’re still only human.
RULE 1: I Will Point Out Sexism, No Matter How Ingrained or Seemingly Benign
The only way we can end sexism at work is to train ourselves to recognize the most latent forms and commit to pointing them out. Take note of instances where men talk about women at your office in different ways, then point them out.
RULE 2: I Will Stop Men from Interrupting—And Stop Interrupting Other Women
We are all guilty of interrupting, yet if you take note in meeting you might realise that your male colleagues are more likely to interrupt their female colleagues. Make a conscious effort to let every woman say her piece in meetings. If a man interrupts her, circle the conversation back to what she was saying, specifically calling it out.
RULE 3: I Will Vocalise and Celebrate Other Women’s Successes
Studies show that in mixed gender teams, men tend to receive more credit for any successes than any women on the team. So that’s a very big problem. One way to offset this is to intentionally call out other women’s good work.
RULE 4: I Will Offset the Feedback Gap
There is a dozen or more studies that show that men receive better feedback throughout their careers. The biggest one is that women receive only vague information in performance reviews, whereas men get clear pointers on what they can improve or change. So, while we wait for that to change, we can give better feedback to the women around us—even if it’s informal.
RULE 5: I Will Forgo the Watercooler Chat
Work looks very different for us than it did for our mothers. The personal and professional lines get blurry at times, and it can feel natural to talk smack about an annoying co-worker to your “work wife”. Life’s too short to have co-worker drama, but this goes a step beyond that—being a true workplace ally means you need to dedicate yourself to working well with every woman in your office.
You don’t have to love her, but you do have to work with her. And working well with her can make a huge difference—for all of us.