- Five women share more holistic ways companies can better support them at work.
- They say family planning is a primary concern of working women who want to start a family.
- Financial and mental support for women planning to pursue long careers is also important.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
There are a bevy of benefits women consistently list as being most supportive – flexible work schedules, paid maternity leave, and childcare options, for example. But when Glassdoor asked women what companies could do better, they offered up some other ideas. Here, these women say, are the creative and important ways that companies could support them even better.
1. Help women plan for their families
“Many companies say they support women, but the reality is they don’t. Career advancement is linked to performance, as it should be – but if you are single and don’t have support, you are often putting everything aside to work and by the time you achieve your goals, you may not be able to have kids. I wish companies would offer IVF or egg storage options so women didn’t feel pressured to have kids early in their careers.” – Michelle, a nurse executive in Washington, DC
2. Establish women as company leaders
“I had to prove myself to clients and other industry players and now, I’ve built a rapport. But it wasn’t always that way. My company kept me involved with client decisions from the start, and I recommend companies introduce women early to clients and establish them as the point-person or leader. I’ve experienced my fair share of sexism, with clients saying, ‘I don’t want to talk to you because you’re a woman.’ But my company’s leaders pushed back, touted my expertise, and told them I was the foremost expert.” – Carrie, an operations manager in Irvine, California
3. Craft HR policies that help women
“I’d strongly recommend small businesses hire HR consultants when drafting employee manuals, evaluation forms, disciplinary notices, and other HR-related documents. Having a professional take a holistic view of your practices is a great idea to ensure you’re building a fair, transparent workplace with equitable procedures related to evaluations, maternity leave, pay gap distributions, and other policies that disproportionately impact women. Male business owners may otherwise be unaware of some of these topics, so investing in an outside party to evaluate your HR practices is a must-do.” – Jenny, a program manager in Los Angeles, California
4. Offer plans that support pregnancy
“Many companies are becoming more generous with their maternity leave policies, but what about the time, effort and money it takes to actually get pregnant? Flexible work schedules, remote opportunities, emails instead of meetings, and better insurance benefits for fertility treatment would be awesome. Before I started trying for a baby, I was in a meeting with 20 women and not one of them had a child. It made me scared to attempt to try for my own because I thought my career wouldn’t support that path. Something’s got to give to make women more comfortable with having a baby.” – Arielle, a website founder in Boston, Massachusetts
5. Help with home office costs
“I think the one thing that could be done that would make me feel even more supported would be to help me subsidize the cost of a home office. I feel much more productive when I have a dedicated office space from which to work, and it allows me to get solid work done even when my daughter is home.” – Lacy, a chief marketing officer in Boston, Massachusetts
Offering childcare options is not enough to drive women’s careers. Financial aids for family planning, equitable HR policies, and assistance with setting up home offices are key opportunities for companies to better support their female employees.