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13 tips for men to support women in the workplace

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

The first International Women's Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Women and men from across the world came together to demand equal rights, suffrage for women, and an end to discrimination.

Since that time, much progress has been made. Women's earning power is a growing trend, and 38% of American women now earn more than their husbands. This trend will likely continue as women are increasingly dominating college graduation stages.

Despite such progress, women must be more represented in leadership roles.

Men are essential allies to continue to support the progress needed going forward. Here is how men can help as husbands, fathers, and professionals.

My first nine tips for how husbands can support their working wives was shared in the MarketWatch article:

#1 Respect her time

#2 Manage the home together

#3 Manage money together

#4 Have a shared mental load for invisible work

#5 Encourage her to take breaks

#6 Give support and listen to her

#7 Show appreciation

#8 Take care of yourself

#9 Be a partner in parenting

4 more tips for men to support women in the workplace

#10 Have conversations that show support for her career goals

Understand what you want your role to be in conversations to support her career goals. She may need a sounding board for constructive feedback, or she would like more specific guidance. It could be as simple as being curious about how she spends her work day to show a genuine interest in her work.

#11 Fair isn't always equal

In some marriages, one partner may have a career with ongoing stress and long work hours. In other marriages, both partners could experience stress spikes and additional work, in which case the division of labor could change weekly to manage the ebbs and flows of work.

We're not timekeepers banging our chests, suggesting that our time spent during the day was equal. That's not reality, nor is it in the spirit of serving each other.

Take, for instance, these Modern Husbands Ambassadors. She is an emergency medicine physician in NYC, and he has a less stressful job. He ensures that he is prepared to support her emotional needs when she arrives home from work; the apartment is clean, and dinner is prepared.

Why? Because her time on the job requires the heroic task of saving lives, and not every life can be saved. He knows that, and as a husband, he recognizes that he needs to support her in this way to be happy.

#12 Support must come from the teams we work on each day

We asked Nicole Wiley, CEO of 100 Women in Finance, how men can support their female colleagues. Here is what she had to say:

"I'm hopeful that increasing numbers of men will continue to reach out and make strides toward a more inclusive finance industry as they realize just how impactful their efforts really have been and can continue to be. The data strongly supports better financial outcomes when investment teams are diverse, and by extension, I like to believe that every professional's support team-- of managers, mentors and sponsors-- should also reflect diversity so that we gain skills and perspectives that we may not have otherwise had and that force us to grow.

When that comes to men more specifically supporting a more gender-equitable workplace, much of that initial support comes from the bottom-up---- on the teams we work on day in and day out.

Men, and in particular male managers, should encourage women on their teams to be visible internally (start with internal meetings) and externally (conferences, client presentations) and build this visibility into personal development plans.

If needed, men should provide their female colleagues with the necessary coaching and support to take on speaking roles as early as possible in their career, as well as provide clear and actionable feedback. Men can also be tone setters and culture carriers at industry events.

When asked to be on a finance industry conference panel, men can send a message by accepting on the condition of diverse representation and, if female speakers are lacking, men can suggest candidates from their network. In this regard, they can be a champion for visibility and encourage other male colleagues to do the same."

#13 Create Care Days

We asked Paul Sullivan, a former New York Times columnist and founder of The Company of Dads, how management can support female employees:

"Working mothers and working fathers who are deeply involved in parenting - would benefit from managers and senior leaders who modeled positive parenting behavior. Put their kids' events in their calendars, and be honest when they can't make a call for a parenting reason. Understand that good workers will get the job done and don't need to be micromanaged.

To that end, we've called on employers to offer Care Days as a separate bucket of emergency days off - distinct from Sick Days, Bereavement Days, Personal Days - and obviously Vacation Days. Care Days would be used when an emergency care situation cropped up - be it for a child, a spouse or partner, or an aging parent. Its purpose is to bring greater honesty, transparency and humanity to caring."


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