Wednesday, October 17, 2012

THIS is how you get qualified senior level females.....

1. Mentor young women who are trying to figure out their career paths. Encourage them to go for what they're qualified for, regardless of whether it would "let them have a family." Men manage to have careers and families-tell them they should hold it as a reasonable expectation for themselves.

2. Listen to your admin assistants, receptionists, secretaries, office managers and any other support staff (usually positions dominated by women) when they tell you they'd like more opportunities.  Point them in the right direction for their strengths, qualifications and passions. If they aren't qualified for a certain position, be honest. However, don't patronize them by saying they are "too good" at what they do and that their work is "so important." It's obvious to them when you treat them like they're really not worth your time.

3. DO NOT make fun of stay-at-home dads or men who prioritize their families and homes. If you hear someone else do likewise, call them out.  If we treat it like it's lesser work simply because women do it, we're basically saying women are lesser people and that has very dangerous societal implications for everyone.

4. Advocate, on a company level and on a government level (national and state), for workplace policies that help all employees maintain a good work-life-family balance. That includes paid parental leave (for BOTH parents), universal daycare, mandatory paid sick leave, and flex time for all employees, regardless of whether or not they have children-we all will have aging parents, right? If Americans truly believe in family values, we'd put our money where our mouth is and make sure everyone can put their time to their families-not just women.

5. Teach young women the "soft skills" of employment. How to interview, how to project themselves with authority, how to be confident and assertive, and how to go after salary negotiations, raises and promotions.  Women are socialized to be accomodating and accepting to the point that assertion is almost rude.  Tell them they can be polite but still carry authority and demand respect. 

6. Celebrate your colleagues' milestones with them, personally and professionally. However, we don't want to be known as the "married ladies" or "mommies" when we're at work. Yes, we socialize and share our good news but we don't want to be known simply as someone's wife or someone's mother-just like no man is ever known solely as "so-and-so's husband" or "so-and-so's father." That also means keeping your personal opinions about how she handles those transitions to yourself unless she asks your opinion.

7. Take sexual harassment seriously and do not tolerate jokes about "boss ladies," "bosses as bitches," or any other insulting comments specifically directed at females in the workplace.  Futher, don't give physical contact (hugs, back pats, etc.) to a female employee if you wouldn't for a male.  It's all about respect, folks. It's also a legal issue.  Don't poke the bear.

8. Don't talk about "women" or "women's issues" as if we're a monolithic entity. We're all different and prioritize issues differently, depending on where we come from and our current state in life. Honestly, what exactly IS the female perspective?

9. Network, network, network with both men and women. Encourage all your colleagues, male and female, to network.  Networking allows people to obtain mentors and learn more about their fields.  You'll get many qualified women if they know you're interested.

10. Please, for the love of God, don't simply walk into a "women's group" with a binder! We're smart enough to know how to get a job. If you would build a workplace culture that supports all employees, stand against discrimination, and groom female professionals to eventually take on leadership, you'll get your senior level females. However, we don't need to be tokens.  Make us qualified and hire us once we are. Just like you would for a man. 

Thank you.