March is Women’s History Month. We are taking this time to recognise the powerful women who have contributed to our world. Let us also appreciate how far the UAE has come in terms of gender equality in the workplace.
The pandemic certainly moved gender equality backwards. Women were burdened with even more domestic work than they were already shouldering. However, it opened up new opportunities for hybrid and remote work. It also brought important conversations on gender equality to the table.
In honour of the month, here are four ways you can focus on improving women’s experiences in the workplace:
Keep Things Flexible
Women’s burden at home increased significantly throughout COVID lockdowns. They now have to balance work and shorter school weeks. Keep in mind that not every mother has a nanny. They may be struggling to find ways to take care of their children while still doing their jobs. Offering more flex time and remote work options. Simple understanding and support will go a long way toward freeing up women to achieve great results both at work and at home.
Make it Safe
UAE companies have made great strides toward inclusion and diversity in the workplace. More and more women feel safe to contribute ideas and share opinions without fear of being reproached. Make sure women feel comfortable talking to you by actively inviting them into conversations about issues they play a role in.
Encourage Women to Support Women
Often some of the worst difficulties women in the workplace encounter are from other women. One of the problems is lack of female superiors and role models. Many women climbing the ladder in the workplace are the first ones up. Now is a great opportunity to offer more leadership development. Encourage the first generation of female leaders to support and mentor the next generation.
Whether working from the office or at home, it is far too easy to get caught up in work and forget to do simple things like drink water or take a short walk and move around. Not only that, but many women have been socialised to put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. There are endless stories of women saying they feel selfish for taking care of themselves. You can support women by promoting good self-care practices. But also by taking part in them yourself. Leading by example shows you understand and value self-care. Don’t forget about the women working from home. They struggle with work-life balance at least as much as office workers.
More than anything, gender equality in the workplace is about awareness. We all want equality and are willing to work toward it. Keep our eyes and ears open, recognise the gaps, and then solve them.
We can help you assess your workplace for any gaps in equity as well as design a plan for overcoming them. As your outsourced HR team, we can work on a project-by-project basis or provide ongoing service. Contact us to find out more.