It’s easy to talk about creating a gender-balanced workforce. But how do we turn words into action?
I didn’t always notice. It crept up on me. Over the years, I became blind to it. It was just the norm to be one of only a few women in the room. In many cases the only woman in the room.
I didn’t want to call it out, it was early in my career. I didn’t want to make a ‘thing’ out of being a woman. But over time, I started to notice.
Then I wanted to do something to change this.
I started with a goal to showcase the women in our organisation, making women visible. I used the ‘open the door’ programme to encourage and support women to get involved in more activities and widen their horizons. And then coaching others.
I got a wonderful note last week from someone I coached. It had a simple title ‘I got the job, THANKS!!’
It started small. It grew. We don’t have to make large grand gestures to help others out, to open the eyes of those who don’t notice.
Here are my simple steps, nothing fancy, anyone can do this, choose any of these things.
It’s called making a difference to gender balance in our industry.
My 6 top tips
Look, notice, and be aware
It starts with really seeing. Where are the women? Are they around? Are they included?
It’s simple: you can’t be what you can’t see. What role can you play in showcasing women’s talent?
Open the door
Next time you have an invite to an activity, bring a female colleague along. Just offer them a space or a seat at the table, an opportunity they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Be a coach
We can all give back. It doesn’t take a lot to offer someone else some support, to help them believe in themselves, and encourage them to set their own goals.
Be a sponsor
Speak up for another woman. Recognise her talents and talk to other people about her abilities. We all need a sponsor: be one for others.
Don’t wait for someone else to notice you, act. As the leadership expert Brene Brown said: “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”