3 Steps to Empowering Women Every Day
Research after report shows that when women are empowered, the world gets better. When more women sit at the negotiating table, there is less war and more peace. Empowered women have fewer deaths from childbirth, and lower infant mortality. They reduce illiteracy; and USAID reports that when women and girls reach gender equity, they could increase global GDP by $12 trillion by 2025. There’s even a strong notion women will solve the climate crisis.
In 2020, however, women lost 36 years of progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s an entire generation lost, and whilst our problems might seem insurmountable, supporting women succeeding in our homes, offices, and communities is the answer.
Here are three easy, practical, and repeatable actions we can take every day to lift the women around us.
#1 Actually Talk about Money
Helping women feel confident with money is critical. The gender pay gap is real and closing at a glacial pace. White women are still decades away from equal pay, Black women are one hundred-plus years away, and Latina women two hundred-plus years away.
One of the biggest hurdles we can help women overcome is supporting them in asking for what they are worth. When we share our own salaries and discuss strategies for asking for a raise, we increase the likelihood of her claiming what she is owed.
By talking about money often, whether that be about investing, financial news and tips, or your own level of discomfort, you create an ease that leads to more familiarity and action.
Money is squarely about creating financial security, but it’s also about how we want the rest of the world to look. The people who have control of capital are able to decide what has value and what problems are worth solving, and women need to be part of that conversation.
#2 Just Say Yes
One of the simplest ways we can help another woman is just to say Yes. Yes to an introduction. Yes to a thirty-minute call. Yes to giving some advice. Yes to any request within the realm of possibility.
It might surprise you to know that your small Yes could be the pathway to a big new job for her and a wage rise to boot. It could be the difference between a strategic project succeeding and failing, it could be the momentum she needed to not check out of the workforce, and keep going. When we say yes, we never truly know the full implication of what will follow. But one thing is true by saying Yes—you will create a shift in the universe for something good to happen.
By bringing more awareness to saying Yes, you will help more women more often.
#3 Take a Stand
There will be times when taking a stand is the only choice left to make. We can help another woman help herself. We can create potential opportunities for her growth. We can share our wisdom and advice, but there will come a time when the only thing left to do is to stand up for her!
That might look like confronting senior management to improve your organization’s diversity, it might be reporting bias, or it might be by advocating for a female hire. It might also look like calling on other women for their opinion in a meeting, crediting a female colleague for her idea, or asking a male colleague to get coffee for guests or to take notes instead of the young woman who always volunteers to help.
Standing up for her means doing so in big and small ways, but it requires our willingness to take action and to also potentially face the consequences. Taking a stand comes with risks, and that’s something we all need to weigh as we decide which course of action to take.
There is no silver bullet for tackling inequality and our global grand challenges, but when each of us can take advancing women and girls into our own hands, we can get pretty darn close. We all must strive to bring forward more empowered women.
Jane Finette is the Founder and Executive Director of The Coaching Fellowship, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of young women leaders in social change. A leadership expert and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), Jane has dedicated her life to achieving equality for women — empowering them to create impact and build the world of tomorrow, today. Her first book, Unlocked: How Empowered Women Empower Women, is launching this week.