4 Ways You Can Support Women at Work…and Why You Should

women in business

Let’s Shatter the Glass Ceiling Together.

For too long, men and women have blocked women’s progress up the career ladder. Whether it’s the office Queen Bee blocking other women’s path to senior leadership, the Office Witch hexing every female colleague, or the old-fashioned man who can’t see women as his equal, it’s time for this to stop. In the 21st century, men and women work together to break the glass ceiling.  It’s about time!

Why We Need Women At The Top

The case for diverse leadership is strong and simple:  it’s good for business. Businesses with at least 10% of women on the board perform better.  Board diversity improves risk management too. Women don’t seem to fall for the ‘Masters of The Universe’ attitude that comes from being accidentally right. Yet as Sheryl Sandberg said in Davos in 2016, Men still run the world; I’m not sure it’s going so well.’

source: weforum.org

Do Your Part

We need more women at the top of business. Think you can’t make a difference? You’re wrong! Introduce these four simple behaviours to lift up other women. When one of us does well, we all do well.

Be Another Woman’s Cheerleader

Opportunities follow success. If management doesn’t know what a woman can do, they won’t give her the chance to do more. Be someone else’s cheerleader.  Over lunch, at the coffee machine, during formal meetings and informal conversations, give women credit for their successes. Mention Annamaria’s successful client acquisition, or Luanna’s award. If you lead a team, use every opportunity to promote their abilities, whether they are male or female. Many women find it easier to talk about another woman’s success than they do their own. Take advantage of this.

Amplify Ideas

Women’s ideas are often disregarded and hijacked by men in meetings. You may have experienced this yourself; I certainly have.  Block it with amplification, a strategy used successfully by women in President Obama’s administration. When Jenna presents a valid solution to the current problem, quickly say ‘Building on Jenna’s idea…’ and add your own thoughts. When Jim restates Shania’s idea as his own, say, ‘Jim, like you I agree with Shania’s proposal…’ Make sure that credit goes where it belongs: to the woman with the idea. It’s easy, and it works.

Steer Opportunities Towards Women

Women are often passed over for opportunities that would be a perfect fit. Promote women of merit as part of your networking practice. If your boss mentions a project that fits Liselotte’s skills perfectly, mention her name as a good candidate. Then tell Liselotte so she can follow up. Is your neighbour a great marketer? Don’t just tell her about the opening at your company. Walk her CV to the hiring manager and tell her why she needs to read it.  This is what real networking looks like: advocating for others, not just for yourself.

Demand Diverse Candidate Lists

Leaders need diverse teams for peak results. Demand a diverse talent pool for your open roles: women, visible minorities, the differently abled… don’t let unconscious bias in the hiring process drive your decisions. One of my coaching clients recently faced this challenge when hiring. *  Her HR partner presented 10 candidates, all white men aged 50 or more. My client knew the candidate pool in a major city was more diverse; she challenged HR to deliver. Within 2 weeks, she had a stronger and more diverse list. The successful candidate was a 46-year old woman of Guatemalan descent who is already contributing to the business’s success.

Which women have you helped? Which women have helped you?

*details changed for anonymity


Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.

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