The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap report says it will take more than two centuries to achieve true gender equality. Although this will quite literally take a lifetime to complete, many people believe that we can not wait that long to make a change. The workplace is one of the areas where gender equality is the easiest to identify. For this reason, employed women are highly skeptical about a possibility of any change. In recent months, many revelations have begun to expose the real challenges that women of these days face in their workplaces and even beyond.

A recent study involving over 3600 working women professionals from 27 different industries gathered their views on their career experiences and expectations. Women ages  28 – 40 became the focus of the study. Primarily because, it is during this stage that the challenge of balancing between personal and career priorities surfaces. About 82% of women said they feel highly positive about fulfilling their career aspirations. While around 77% said they have the ability to lead, and they are actively seeking career development opportunities. Women seem to be more confident and ambitious than ever before. This momentum needs to be harnessed and used to dismantle the discriminatory practices that may still be present.

These three strategies will help to a more inclusive working environment where women and men can succeed together. Leaders must devise a holistic approach to work on actively implementing  strategies. This can lead to creating real change. 

Create Transparency and Trust

A majority of women (58%) who took part in the survey said they have never trusted what their employer told them regarding their career development and promotion opportunities. To reduce this feeling of distrust, survey participants determined that honesty and transparency are the missing factors from these interactions.

Employees should strive to share  what lies on either side of the employment equation, such as essential career development information. Open conversations are also needed to let the employees know where they stand, and what can be done to effectively improve their performance. More transparency will ensure that all employees, both male or female, will be a part of an inclusive work environment that gives everyone  opportunities to meet their potentials. 

Develope Support Networks

In order to thrive and feel safe in the workplace, women should have access to secure support networks at work. These programs should consist of individuals who work to protect, develop, and encourage them as they move forward with their career goals. Also, women are in need of role models and mentors who are of both genders. In fact, lack of support from their male counterparts can create hostility, and this feeling  has no place in an inclusive work environment. Though providing such a caring and nurturing support might appear as a complex task, it is a necessary part of any cooperative and productive workspace.

Allow for Flexible Work Models

Finally, a majority of survey respondents said they working a job they genuinely enjoy is a high priority. These women sought working environments that promoted a healthy work-life balance.  This is very important, considering about 42% of women said they were nervous regarding the possible impact of starting a family can have on their career.A number of new mothers felt they were overlooked when it came to promotions and special projects when they returned to work. This was especially true for women of color.  

Employers should brainstorm ways to address the unique needs of those groups, and act in a proactive manner to resolve the problems in the best way possible. Women with children are equally deserving of job promotions, but need the appropriate tools to help them succeed.  Treating employees with equity and providing reasonable accommodations is vastly different from giving special treatments.

Next Steps

Today’s women are in need of employers who will take the necessary steps to create inclusive and accommodating environments. Since women employees are strong employees who add value to a company, gender bias should not impede their work. If proper strategies are devised and implemented, they will benefit every employee irrespective of their gender.