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Years ago, women who wanted to be taken seriously in the business world had to accept the characteristics of a man in a male-dominated world. They dressed in dark suits, spoke in deep voices, took aggressive and assertive positions in the boardroom and during negotiations, and showed almost no emotion. How ridiculous, if not unnatural, to be forced to belittle your gender.
Despite the tremendous advances that women have made in business, politics, entertainment, and the arts in recent decades, we still have a long way to go before they are fully integrated and noted in the American workforce. It begins by emphasizing and imitating the unique qualities and traits that have allowed women to succeed – the attributes that set them apart from their male counterparts.
Businesses that want to be successful must not only hire and promote women; they must listen to them and learn from them. When women are fully involved in business, everyone succeeds.
Do not hire blindly
To be truly successful, a business must involve more women at all levels. The hiring and hiring processes must ensure that gender is not a factor, either explicitly or subconsciously. Application questions should be written in a way that does not identify gender, and recruitment should take place through different channels, not just the “old boys’ network”.
Given this, there is no such thing as blind or impartial hiring. Even if we believe that we are fair and unbiased, we are all shaped and overshadowed by our background and experience. So let’s take down the blinds.
At some point in the process, your employee will know the gender of the candidate, and if your company has done its job of diversifying the scope, it is likely that the candidate is a woman. Do not try to ignore her gender. Instead, do your best to find a place in your organization where she can learn, grow, and contribute – and pay her well.
Related: Be the change: lessons from a woman in business (for other women in business)
Women work differently
Women are natural leaders of teams and players. They usually read the room, nonverbal cues and body language better than their male counterparts. They tend to be more direct and transparent, as well as more supportive of others. When the male ego and rivalry are hardened or eliminated, the workplace can be less toxic and more productive.
They also need to teach their male leaders and workers how to accept the qualities that women exemplify. These are traits that are common to most men, but men are trained to suppress them. Imagine a workplace where people actually listen to each other. Imagine a company where more workers support the efforts of others and celebrate the achievements of others. This should not be something to present, but to encourage.
This is happening now in companies owned and operated by women. For example, Bobbie, a company founded and run by mothers, created a new employee support system after its co-founder saw the pandemic change the landscape for working women. As mothers across the country left the workforce to care for parents and young children, a new internal role was created to balance workers who juggle work and personal life requirements to alleviate invisible mental strain.
All workers, not just working mothers, could benefit from such a system, as could the companies they work for. A more balanced workforce – one in which stress is reduced and productivity is increased – can only improve a company’s end result.
Women deserve more
So why are women still underestimated and almost abandoned in many professions? In March, we noted in the calendar the number of extra days that women have to work on average to earn what men on average earned in the previous year. For mothers and many colorful women, this date is still far away.
The good news is that women are no longer settling. If they can’t be accepted and evaluated in the Good Old Boys Club, they will create their own jobs without apology. The women are masters of the net, who choose to collaborate over the competition, and they know that the tide lifts all the boats. They understand the importance of connecting with customers and stakeholders. They value family and team over their own ego.
Related: Women business owners share successes, challenges and tips for entrepreneurs
And they succeed. Founding women with all-female teams received $ 6.9 billion in risk funding in 2021, compared to $ 3.3 billion in 2020, according to a recent PitchBook Data report. Mixed-sex teams with at least one female founder received $ 47 billion in venture funding in 2021, compared to $ 19 billion in 2020. In 2022, venture capitalists have already invested $ 980 million in founding teams. composed entirely of women, compared to $ 758 million for all of 2012, according to the report.
Investors do not throw money. They do their due diligence and invest only when they are confident that they will see a good return on their investment. Business owners need to do the same. They need to look beyond outdated biases and stereotypes and invest in a workforce that welcomes and celebrates women and their unique insights, energy and talents.