By Emma Howe, Sales and Events Director at Street Feast
Gender equality in the workplace is the best it’s ever been but despite this, women are still largely underrepresented at every level of business. Things are starting to improve, explicit gender bias is less common, due to tougher legislation and an increased focus on diversity issues, however challenges remain.
Is there a one in one out policy put in place whereby women are only allowed a small slice of the power? Take the boardroom for example, just over 6% of executives in FTSE 250 firms are women. While women enter the workforce on the same footing as men, the further up the corporate ladder you go, the fewer women you find.
As we work towards a fairer system for all, I’m passionate about encouraging a culture where women support each other, empowering and creating opportunities for women to thrive. Here are my tips for working women:
- Your team is equal
Setting a quota for the number of women or men in your team will only cause division. People may get overlooked for a job they are more suited to, or promotions handed out to boost a percentage. Think of your team as ‘genderless’, make sure your staff know they are not labelled or expected to do things differently because of their sex. By setting a genderless environment you will treat everyone the same, and they can expect to be treated as equals. Only job performance will stand in the way. Leading by example will spread to others around you; outlining a positive career and work ethic will encourage those in your team, whether female or male, to achieve and do the best they can.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for a pay rise or promotion
Asking for a pay rise or promotion can be nerve-racking; you’re not in control; you’re putting yourself in the hands of your manager to be judged and you may worry that you’ll appear greedy and self-serving. This isn’t the case and to advance in your career, you’ll need to learn to advocate for yourself. In some companies, if you sit and wait for a promotion or pay rise to be given to you, it will never come. Not because you’re not deserving but because you’re not the only employee, know you’re worth and never feel as though you aren’t deserving of progression in your own career!
3. Remember that networking is invaluable
It’s all too easy to think that networking has no place in the modern work world but this simply isn’t true. I have always found networking to be the simplest and most effective way to build industry relationships, the foundation of which will help you learn, grow and be inspired. I think it’s also really important to try and network with like-minded women too. But remember, it’s not just a one way street though, make sure you’re putting yourself forward to help and encourage others, you will have skills that can help others on their own journey. See networking as a virtuous circle whereby what you put forward will pay you back in the future, you never know, someone in your network may put you forward for your dream job that you didn’t even know about!
4. Consistently analyse your own performance
One of my tips for success in the workplace is to forensically analyse yourself and your work – just like an Olympian might do. Think, ‘What went wrong and what do you need to change?’. Define success in your own terms and set career goals for yourself, however big or small. You might start by aiming to speak on a couple of panel sessions each year and then eventually your goal might evolve into becoming the key note speaker. Every month, quarter, whatever works for you, take a look at what you have achieved, what went wrong and how you can improve.
5. Be a champion for other women’s success
If we stand with the view that one woman’s success is a win for all women, we can become supporters of one another. If you wonder how she achieved success, ask her. I believe we can develop our own skills by looking to others who are in positions we aspire to reach. Social media is a great place to connect with a community of likeminded women and highlight each other’s successes but also remember to recognise the successes of your colleagues and friends no matter how big or small they may seem.
About The Author
Emma heads the events division at Street Feast, running a team of seven she has built from scratch and delivering slick events throughout the year. The events side of the business are now responsible for 50% of the company’s annual turnover and have big brand clients like Amazon, Barclays, Facebook and Google.