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According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, at the rate we’re going, it would take approximately 217 years before we reach true gender parity.

There is overwhelming evidence on how diversity helps economies and diverse workforces to have better output in comparison to homogeneous ones, and yet the road towards gender parity still seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.

Women and true male allies around the world are doing their part in rallying and lobbying for corporations and governments to implement policies and programs that promote diversity.

But even then, we all have to take part in this advocacy and we can. Even if you think you work at a much smaller scale than activists, politicians, CEOs or lawmakers, our unified actions can make a difference in the world.

Here are five ways you can start promoting gender equality in the workplace:

 

Mind Your Language

There have been several studies showing that women apologize so much more than their male counterparts in the workplace, even if they’re not at fault and the situation doesn’t call for it. How many times have you prefaced a question with “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understood”? There is no need to apologize if you need a point to be clarified. Even if we’re raising very valid issues, we tend to use phrases that convey an apology like, “It might just be me,” or “Correct me if I’m wrong”. With each apology, we undermine our own voice and give away our power. Stop apologizing for things that require no apology and own your opinion because it is just as important as the next person’s.

 

Be Proactive in Your Career Growth

Don’t wait for your senior managers to take notice of your potential or play a guessing game with your bosses about your career aspirations. Take an active role in your career growth by seeking out mentors or sponsors. Talk to your manager about your performance and your future in the company so they can help guide you. If an opportunity for promotion or even taking lead in a small project comes up, don’t wait for someone to put your name in the running, but clearly express your interest.

 

Stop Second-Guessing Your Skills

A Hewlett-Packard Internal Report showed an interesting finding that while men will apply for roles or positions even if they’re only 60% qualified, women won’t do so unless they meet 100% of all the requirements. Whether it’s an issue of confidence, too much caution or simply an aversion to risk-taking, it’s something women have to move away from. Just because you don’t tick off all the technical requirements, it doesn’t mean that you’re not qualified to do the job or you’re not the best person for it. Don’t second-guess your skills. If you know you can do the role, go for it.

 

Your “Feminine” Traits Are Powerful

The view of quality leadership has evolved in recent years. Corporations are now recognizing that traditionally feminine traits like empathy and collaboration are beneficial in a team’s performance. These traits are part of your power, so use them to lead and inspire your team to greater heights.

 

Empower Other Women

Getting talked over by men is a universal experience for women, whether it’s in the boardroom or when you’re just trying to buy a power drill at the hardware store. While we still need to push men to act as true allies and help amplify women’s voices, we can also take an active role in doing so. When we witness a female co-worker being interrupted during a meeting, speak up and redirect the conversation back to your colleague’s voice.

 

Rise and Lead Summit 2019

The Rise and Lead Summit 2019 will commence this September 19th and 20th at the NH Hotel, WTC, The Hague. This year’s main theme is, “How Accelerating Gender Balance Can Lead to Business Sustainability and Wealth Creation for Families, Companies and Society”.
The summit brings together industry leaders, corporate executives, professionals, entrepreneurs, startups, young leaders, change-makers and organisations to share best practices, learn new skills and drive the change towards gender parity. There will be keynotes, workshops and panel sessions that include, “Becoming the Leader That Inspires Other Women to Rise Up”, and “Building an Inclusive Culture: Addressing Gender Bias and Companies and Society”.

 

We don’t want to wait 217 years to achieve gender parity. Join the movement and register for your seat today!

Ebere Akadiri

Ebere Akadiri

Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.