5 creative ways companies can better support women in the workplace

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Companies should establish women as experts in their field early to clients, and support them if their expertise is challenged.

  • 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.
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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.

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This calendar shows how many more days Asian American and Pacific Islander women had to work to earn as much as white men in 2020

Asian American and Pacific Islander women make about 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make.

  • March 9 is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Equal Pay Day.
  • This is the day on which it would take AAPI women to earn as much as white men did last year.
  • AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make.
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March 9 is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Equal Pay Day.

This means it takes the typical AAPI woman over an extra two months into 2021 to earn what the median non-Hispanic white man earned in just 2020. According to Equal Pay Day Today, AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make. The National Women’s Law Center wrote that the pay gap translates to a monthly loss of about $833 or an annual loss of around $10,000.

Not all women reach equal pay day at the same time in 2021; this varies by race and ethnicity, as does the gender wage gap. AAPI women are the first group to reach the earnings of what non-Hispanic white men made in just 2020. Equal Pay Day for Latina women is October 21 this year, so it takes Latina women almost 300 extra days in 2021 to earn what non-Hispanic white men earned over 2020.

Number of days women have to work into the next year to earn as much as white men calendar graphic

It is important to note that these are approximate days of when women will reach the typical pay of white men in the same positions based on median earnings among different groups.

The pay gap for AAPI women compared to non-Hispanic white men further varies when looking at typical pay of various AAPI women in full-time, year-round positions.

A chart based on 2015-2019 Census data from the Center for American Progress shows the median Burmese woman makes just 52 cents for every dollar the median non-Hispanic white man makes, the largest gap among the communities listed in the chart. Taiwanese, Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian women actually earn a few cents more than every dollar non-Hispanic white men make.

The pay gap for AAPI women can also be seen by occupation. The National Women’s Law Center‘s analysis found that 26.6% of AAPI women are working on the frontlines of the pandemic, earning less than non-Hispanic white men in these same positions. For instance, NWLC found AAPI restaurant servers make 89 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men in that occupation make, based on 2015-2019 Census data for full-time, year-round workers.

Layoffs and job losses have also affected Asian Americans as a result of the pandemic’s effect on employment. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, more than half of Asian Americans were likely to report someone in their household lost their job or took a pay cut since February 2020. Around 58% of Hispanic respondents and 54% of Asian respondents reported this, a higher percentage than white and Black respondents.

The symbolic Equal Pay Day for US women overall is later this month, on March 24.

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