Why A Company Makeover Needs To Include Women in The Workplace in Power

WeFesticval co-founder Joanne Wilson says it is critical to include more women in the workplace and sometimes have a space just for women.Restructuring your office, company or organization to be more inclusive and female-supportive involves way more than adding pillows to the lounge in the restroom.According to Anne Weisberg, writing in Motto, the first step to include women in the workplace in power roles involves recognizing there are traditionally different standards for men and women in the workplace. And those standards are from the very small to the global.[bctt tweet=“To foster a more inclusive workplace, make sure you don’t interrupt women.”]“To foster a more inclusive workplace, make sure you don’t interrupt women when they are speaking and that you acknowledge you have listened by saying something as simple as, ‘I want to pick up on what Sue said…’ before you present your idea,” says Weisberg, director of the Women’s Initiative at Paul, Weiss, a law firm in New York.Recognition of the contributions of women in the workplace, kudos to women leadership on the team, and frequent feedback are other tools that will help. Rotating the necessary “office housework” such as making coffee or copies, also can foster a shift in the culture. And acknowledge that everyone has a life outside of work.Weisberg adds,”Be explicit with your colleagues about your external commitments and circumstances, and ask others to do the same with you. You’ll be amazed at how liberated you’ll feel.”Apparently, that memo didn’t make it to New Zealand, where Ellen Read, writes in Stuff, that 100 percent of the leaders voted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame were men.“It’s shocking that the country which was the first in the world to give women the vote, is in this situation.”  She adds, “For things to change, we have to change the way we do things.”At Take The Lead, the 9 Power Tools include Power Tool # 1: Know Your History.Acknowledging that acknowledgment is key, Advertising Age recently announced the 40 (actually it’s 41) under 40 list for 2016 of the “bright young minds reinventing and reshaping marketing’s future.” There are 14 women on the list, or 35 percent of those lauded.The list includes power houses such as Rachel Spiegelman, president of Pitch; Desiha Barnett,  senior director corporate communications at Walmart; Stephanie Naegeli, senior digital marketing innovation manager at Nestle; Hayley Romer, vp-publisher at The Atlantic and Olivia Kim, vp-creative projects at Nordstrom.According to Ad Age, Kim is “spearheading the $13 billion retailer’s first global marketing campaign in 15 years, See Anew, which debuted earlier this year.”On the same bandwagon to be inclusive of women in the workplace and foster women’s leadership, Iowa recently launched a statewide campaign to increase the number of women leaders in public and private companies. The Iowa Women Lead Change “campaign aims to enlist 100 CEOs of Iowa businesses and organizations to pledge to attract, encourage and retain women as leaders,” writes Anne Carothers-Key in Business Record. “This is all about talent — the development and retention of Iowa talent,” said Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.“Participating companies will be required to commit to at least one of five metrics for increasing female leaders and will be required to report progress on their metrics. Iowa Workforce Development will track those metrics and report aggregate results for all participants yearly,” Carothers writes.“The five metrics are retention of female workers; percentage of female employees in leadership roles; percentage of women in top 10 percent of executive positions; percentage of women on corporate boards; and pay equity.”Also keenly understanding the need for inclusion of women in the workplace as well as corporate leadership internationally is Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard.Cairns told International Business Times: “Obviously the number of women on boards has increased, especially in countries that have had quotas, places like Northern Europe – so that’s been helpful. It’s one thing fixing this at board level, but if you don’t create the feeder pool of women to grow up and manage the company, that’s a wider problem and you aren’t probably creating the board members that you want for the future.“The lack of equal shared voice from women around the world not just in business, but in all global forums, stymies global economic development, says Patricia Morris, president of Women Thrive Worldwide.  Morris writes in The Guardian:“In part, the sustainable development goals are more inclusive and representative than their predecessors because grassroots women collectively pushed decision-makers to create goals that are community-led and -driven. Civil society organizations ensured that goal 4: quality education, for example, was based on real-world issues facing teachers, parents, students and community members.”She adds, “My hope is that more resources will go to the grassroots women and advocates who will ensure the new global goals are implemented effectively and who in a real sense will be responsible for their success. The money and the political will must follow. Anything less and we know what will happen because we’ve seen it before. Without women, there will be no development.”And on the small, but irritating side of a paucity of women in the workplace is a workplace environment where male colleagues say stupid things. Cate Burlington writes in Toast that she hears a lot of dumb remarks in the tech field.Have you heard similar gaffes? We don’t want to spoil Burlington’s great list, but check out these blinder blunders we are taking verbatim from Burlington:

  • “You know about making coffee, right?”
  • “Let me know when you want to do that so I can help you. No offense, but you just don’t know enough about it to try it on your own.”
  • “You’re a girl, but you’re not, like, a girl-girl, y’know?”
  • “See, that’s the great thing about you, I know I can tell ‘offensive’ jokes around you and you won’t care.”

One place where you will certainly not hear any of the above is at the WeFestival, that according to New York Magazine, is s a six-year-old conference for female entrepreneurs — no men allowed.Approximately 400 women attended this year’s event. Dayna Evans of The Cut talked to WeFestival co-founder and angel investor Joanne Wilson on why it’s critical to include women in the entrepreneurial conversations and to occasionally have a woman-only event and exclude men.[bctt tweet=“It’s important for anyone coming up the pike to see successful women as their counterparts.”]“I think it’s important for young women and men coming up the pike to see successful women as their counterparts. Having a women-only entrepreneur festival, we realized that when there are no men there, the walls come down,” Wilson said.“There are conversations about how you get food in the fridge, and where’d you get those shoes, and do you ever take time for yourself on the weekends? These are conversation where it’s so nice to have a peer to say to, ‘Oh, my god, I’m not crazy either, I cried all last week.’”