Written by 9:40 am Women in Business

5 Ways Women in Business Can Make a Difference This Women’s History Month

5 ways to celebrate womens history month

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the incredible strides women have made across all industries, including the business world.

Yet, while we’ve seen tremendous progress, there’s still work to achieve true gender equality in the workplace.

This Women’s History Month, let’s go beyond celebration and commit to actions that will forge a more equitable future.

Here are five ways women in business can be the change makers for a better workplace:

Advocate for Yourself and Others

The journey toward a more equitable workplace starts from within. Too often, women are socialized to downplay their accomplishments, question their value, and shy away from negotiation. This Women’s History Month, let’s shatter these self-limiting tendencies.

  • Recognize Your Worth: Practice positive self-talk that reinforces your skills, talents, and the unique value you bring to the organization. List out your accomplishments, both big and small, and remind yourself of your impact.
  • Speak Up with Confidence: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions in meetings, propose innovative solutions, or ask for the resources you need to succeed. Be a vocal contributor, showcasing your knowledge and expertise.
  • Know Your Value and Negotiate: Conduct market research to understand what your skills and experience are worth. When discussing salary or a promotion, don’t undervalue yourself. Be prepared to advocate for the compensation you deserve.

Remember, self-advocacy isn’t selfish – it’s essential. But it’s not just about ourselves. True equality happens when we uplift others:

  • Mentor and Guide: Share your knowledge and expertise with more junior women in your organization. Offer support, answer questions, and help them navigate the often tricky workplace terrain.
  • Celebrate Wins: Actively applaud the achievements of your female colleagues. Their success is your success; together, you create a positive, supportive environment.
  • Stand in Solidarity: Don’t tolerate discriminatory behavior or microaggressions. Speak up when you witness these actions directed at you or others. By calling out injustice, you become a force for change.

You bring about a significant change when you stand up for yourself, other women, and yourself. You prove that women are valuable contributors to your organization’s success, belong in leadership roles, and should be paid equally.

Challenge the Status Quo

Outdated stereotypes and assumptions about women’s roles in business linger. Challenge these notions by confidently breaking through those glass ceilings.

Push back against limiting expectations, whether it’s questioning why you’re always asked to take meeting notes or pointing out a lack of female representation at essential events. You pave the way for lasting progress by calling out these subtle inequalities.

Women’s History Month isn’t just about commemorating milestones; it’s about breaking down the outdated barriers that still exist today.

Lingering stereotypes about women’s abilities, ambitions, and “appropriate” roles in business continue to hold us back. This month, let’s challenge these assumptions at every turn.

  • Push Past Limitations: Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot achieve. Seek leadership opportunities, tackle ambitious projects, and raise your hand for tasks outside your traditional comfort zone. By confidently proving your capabilities, you dismantle those stereotypical glass ceilings.
  • Question the Norm: Have you ever noticed that you’re frequently tasked with taking notes, planning office events, or handling administrative duties? Don’t hesitate to question why these responsibilities consistently fall to you politely. Similarly, speak up when key meetings, panels, or conferences lack female representation.
  • Call Out Subtle Bias: Microaggressions and seemingly “casual” discriminatory language can create an insidious culture of inequality. If you hear comments about a woman being “too emotional” or “not aggressive enough,” politely but firmly challenge those statements. By making these subtle inequalities visible, you open a dialogue and create a shift in awareness.

Remember, progress isn’t just about shattering those glass ceilings; it’s about changing the foundations of workplace expectations.

This Women’s History Month, let’s remember the efforts of the National Women’s History Alliance and the National Women’s History Project, along with countless women’s organizations who fought tirelessly to bring light to women’s contributions.

Their work, as highlighted through celebrations like International Women’s Day and the Presidential Proclamation declaring March as Women’s History Month, reminds us how far we’ve come and still need to go.

Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Women’s History Month serves as a potent reminder that actual progress doesn’t happen in silos. An inclusive workplace isn’t simply a moral imperative – it’s a catalyst for innovation, improved decision-making, and overall success.

This Women’s History Month, let’s commit to being champions of a culture where every woman has the opportunity to thrive.

  • Amplify Women’s Voices: When projects, leadership roles, or speaking opportunities arise, consciously think beyond the usual suspects. Proactively recommend qualified women colleagues who may not always be at the forefront of people’s minds. By putting their skills and talents in the spotlight, you pave the way for their advancement.
  • Seek Diverse Perspectives: Diversity encompasses more than just gender. Actively solicit input from women with different backgrounds, experiences, and thought processes. This intersectionality of perspectives sparks richer discussions and cultivates better solutions.
  • Challenge Your Biases: We all harbor unconscious biases. Take the time to reflect honestly on your assumptions and thought patterns. Recognize that these biases can unintentionally impact your judgment. Commit to ongoing self-education and consciously expanding your understanding and awareness.

Remember, inclusivity isn’t charity – it’s the key to building a strong and dynamic workforce. Initiatives like the National Women’s History Alliance and the National Women’s History Project arose from recognizing that everyone benefits when diverse voices are valued and uplifted.

Support Women-Owned Businesses

Women entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with. They inject creativity, fresh perspectives, and a drive for positive change into our economy. Yet, systemic barriers often make their journey more challenging. This Women’s History Month, let’s extend a hand and actively support women-led businesses.

  • Be Intentional with Your Spending: When sourcing vendors, look for businesses that are woman-owned or have women in leadership positions. Many companies proudly identify their status; otherwise, some research can go a long way.
  • Engage with Their Community: Attend industry events, workshops, or networking mixers hosted by women-owned businesses. This is a fantastic way to discover innovative products, support their growth, and build relationships within your business community.
  • Spread the Word: Even small acts of support make a difference. Share social media posts from your favorite women-owned businesses, write reviews, or recommend their services to friends and colleagues.

Remember, the commitment to women’s advancement isn’t just about corporations and policies. It starts with our everyday choices. This spirit has been championed throughout history. President Jimmy Carter, when issuing the first Presidential Proclamation designating March as Women’s History Month, called upon us to acknowledge the “valiant women” who shaped America.

When we support women-owned businesses, we invest in a future where economic opportunity isn’t limited by gender. We champion a vision of “essential and indispensable heritage,” where women’s contributions are recognized and valued.

Mentor and Sponsor Other Women

Mentorship is a cornerstone of women’s empowerment. Sharing your knowledge, experience, and insights with junior colleagues can help them avoid hurdles you may have faced, build confidence, and gain a more straightforward path toward their goals.

But mentorship is just the start.

Sponsorship elevates support to the next level. As a sponsor, you leverage your influence, reputation, and network to advocate for talented women. Here are some powerful ways sponsorship makes a difference:

  • Speaking Up:  Be vocal about recommending women for promotions, stretch assignments, or speaking opportunities. Don’t just suggest a name – articulate why this woman is the perfect fit and highlight her unique strengths.
  • Creating Visibility: Include promising women in high-level meetings, decision-making processes, and client interactions. This exposure builds their credibility and expands their sphere of influence.
  • Championing Growth: Offer constructive feedback along with encouragement. Help your mentees see their blind spots and provide them with tools and resources to reach the next level professionally.

Remember, the commitment to women’s progress isn’t confined to Women’s History Month. This spirit echoes through history, from the efforts of Sarah Lawrence College and their “Women’s History Week Celebration” to President Jimmy Carter issuing the first proclamation recognizing the significance of women’s contributions.

When we take the time to mentor and sponsor, we become architects of a more inclusive future. We honor the triumphs and sacrifices of those who came before, echoing the call to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women across American history.

We draw inspiration from stories of “valiant women,” from trailblazers in the past to the women rising all around us today.

Taking Action and Inspiring Change

Women’s History Month is a powerful reminder of the collective strength women possess to drive positive change.

By embracing these five strategies, you’ll elevate yourself and create a ripple effect that benefits women throughout your workplace and industry.

Let this month be a catalyst for a future where opportunities and success are limitless for all women in business.

How are you making a difference in your workplace this Women’s History Month? Share your stories and inspire others in the comments below!

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Last modified: March 4, 2024