In the last two blogs I spoke about how men often unknowingly say and do things in the workplace that appears both sexist and disempowering to women. Then I wrote about what men can do that is helpful and supports women’s inclusion. This blog looks at what women do to disadvantage themselves, because whilst I’d like to think all women are wonderful and perfect, we know that’s not true.
To follow is my biased list of the top 10 things that women do that push back the gender equality agenda. Before anyone gets offended, or if I have already offended you in my previous blogs, please read this as more of a thought starter, as sometimes even the most open and inclusive people make mistakes and that’s OK because we are after all – human.
Top 10 things women ought not to do;
- Call out men for making derogatory remarks about women’s physical features, then go and do it themselves. Making comment on someone’s appearance in a way that categorises them as a sexual object at work is not OK for anyone.
- Don’t be mean and bitchy to other women in the office, especially if you are in a position of power. Equally don’t avoid confrontation and calling out poor behaviour for fear of being seen negatively.
- Don’t favour men in recruitment decisions or for promotions. Unconscious bias exists in women too. Make any selection for a role or project as objective as you can.
- When someone calls you out as being sexist against men, don’t defend yourself, just acknowledge that you have made an error, apologise and learn from it. Intention not to offend is not an excuse!
- Women ask for a promotion, stretch assignment or salary increases less often than men! Men are typically more comfortable with this type of conversation and often have it more naturally, so women ought not to be so humble or hope that others will notice their skills they need to often be more proactive.
- Women want to be treated as professionals yet when they wear short skirts, see through blouses or low tops, its biologically proven its hard for a male to ignore these visuals and focus on her ability and professional expertise. I know that as women we want to dress how we want, but seriously – low tops boobs showing, short short skirts that’s a no! And definitely don’t flirt in the office with the guys.
- Don’t ridicule (read bully) a man for being effeminate, or overly buffed. Men have every right to be comfortable with their femininity or masculinity.
- Don’t complain about “flippin men”. For the majority, we love men, so talk about the great things they do, this will encourage those who hear to do the same and for men who hear to do more of the good stuff they do. If you have something negative to say about a man or men, do it in private. No one wants to listen to a regular complainer!
- Be conscious of your language women often soften their language with “I’m just a …” or “I just think…” get rid of the justs and own what you have to say. This just demeans your thoughts or ideas, be a confident woman worthy of being listened to.
- Don’t try and behave like a man, be yourself collaborative and be authentic. Men aren’t better they simply behave in a different way. Emulating their style is not the way to be successful. Be yourself, embrace your difference, but stand up for what you want.
Written by June Parker
June is Co-Founder of Selection Partners, President of EEON and an Executive and Career Coach. June has strong business acumen with the ability to quickly grasp the needs of her clients. She has proven experience in the application of critical leadership coaching methodologies and tools. June’s sense of humour combined with her direct yet supportive style enables her clients to feel safe whilst stretching themselves to develop and progress. She quickly develops trust and is known for her common sense practical approach. June is ICF & CDAA qualified.