5 Ways To Empower Women As A Community

By Sarah Hannan

5 Ways To Empower Women As A Community

March 15th, 2022 at 9:34 am

How we can actually support women

 

Empowering women should happen all year round and not only during the month of March, however, since this month focuses on supporting women be it at home, in the workplace or even in your community, you might also want to know how you should go about it, without making them feel small or intimidating them.

 

Since the turn of the century, we are seeing more and more women joining the workforce and stepping into male-dominant sectors in the workplace as well. Today there are fields that might see at least one female employee working along with the majority of male employees. In such environments, it is easy to feel intimidated, not because women are not skilled or knowledgeable in the field, but because the men that work with them would always try to intimidate them verbally or through certain actions.

 

While we are on the topic of breaking the bias, these traits should not only apply to empowering women it extends to empowering any gender. Yet when it comes to women, there is always room for men to take the upper hand as they try to prove that they are physically capable of doing certain tasks better and faster than women do.

 

What people tend to overlook is that women have the ability to endure and are a resilient species, and they have proven just that during the pandemic. In many countries, women have become more vulnerable as they were homebound and were forced to be in the same space for a prolonged time with partners who were abusive towards them, which has tipped the scale of the domestic violence cases that are reported.

 

According to a study conducted by the University of California Davis, the pandemic had challenged the mental, physical well being of many women whilst burdening them to also work double-time to continue to advance in their careers. It is quite clear that with physical distancing in place and many worksites shutting down all over the world, only very few jobs were able to transition to working from home.

 

While this opened up many opportunities for women who were capable of taking up work that was computer-based, affected their work-life balance. So how can we as a community step in to empower the women that live around us?

 

Sociologist and Author Tracy Bower PhD who wrote The Secrets to Happiness at Work notes that to create the condition of happiness there are two solutions that involve agency and structure. Meaning that they have the ability to take personal action and influence the system around them.

 

According to Bower, there are five ways to empower women as communities:

  • Manage your bias – When you are, talking to a woman; set aside your prejudices and provide positive reinforcement to influence their thinking, behaviour and the choices they make. A 2021 US study revealed that 38% of people preferred to work for a female boss. This statistic itself can form a bias; therefore, it is better to present the statistic in a way that says ‘people preferred to work for brilliant female leaders’.

 

  • Pay attention – Given that we are pushed to read people all the time, it is easy to lose focus on people around you. Our attention span is decreasing and it is important to conserve that resource. Pay attention to the moods, behaviours, outer appearances of the women in your community. Take time to listen to their grievances, their hopes, and their approach them with empathy and compassion. Always make sure that you validate her feelings and remind her that she is not alone.

 

  • Create opportunities – Women seem to thrive in work environments that provide the flexibility and support to complete their tasks. Workplaces and even communities should therefore look at ways to support them by influencing workplace policies to allow them to work around their schedules of taking care of their children, attending to the household work or having to fulfil personal responsibilities.
    When work-from-home methods were put in place, women seem to have joyfully embraced it and are thriving in their careers as they continue to work-from-home yet manage to achieve the day’s workload. Furthermore, provide them constant feedback by words of encouragement or even positive reinforcement to improve their skills at the workplace or in their households.

 

  • Give praise – Women are prone to develop self-doubt and can easily undergo impostor syndrome. Make sure you praise them when they complete a task or they step into troubleshooting to fix problems in a project. Anyone will feel motivated when praised for his or her skills and for making themselves resourceful.
    During group gatherings or meetings always, make it a point to appreciate a woman’s contribution that helped towards the success of completing tasks at the workplace or even in the community.

 

  • Be authentic – Open up about your stresses and share your vulnerabilities with women in your community or workplace, then they too will understand that everyone has their difficulties and weaknesses. When people admit their mistakes people will feel validated about the way they feel or how they go through life experiences. This creates strong bonds and forms a circle of trust among communities that can be empowering and supportive towards the women among them.

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