What can I do?
Even if you aren't a member of the WPC, there are ways that you can support and engage women in the workplace. Here are a few examples that apply almost anywhere:
- Offer encouragement. Send your colleague a note of encouragement - and mention specifics. Example: "Great job speaking up in the meeting today. I really liked what you had to say about ___. Keep it up!"
- Coach. When you witness someone taking credit for another woman's work, pull the woman aside and coach her on ways to promote her own accomplishments. Many women need permission or encouragement to shine. They also often need to know that someone is on their side.
- Give public praise. Women are often criticized for bragging about themselves. Help them by doing the bragging for them. Example: "Did you see the program that Patty implemented that saved our project a day's worth of work? She is totally crushing it!"
- Provide backup. If a woman is interrupted in a meeting, put the attention back on her. Example: "Jennifer was saying something when we interrupted her. Jennifer, were you finished?"
- Set the record straight. If a woman presents an idea in a meeting that is ignored only to witness the idea be accepted when it is later presented by someone else, point out that she came up with the idea first. Example: "Yes, that is a fantastic idea! Natalia suggested that a while ago. Natalia, did you have more to say about your idea?"
- Don't tolerate bullying. If someone says something unkind or that is bullying, put them in their place - politely, of course. Example: "That was uncalled for! Why did you say that?"
- Don't put up with stereotyping. When you hear someone criticize a woman for being "abrasive", or "bossy", or "too quiet", coach them on why it isn't OK.
Here are more tips for managers from LeanIn.org