Empowering Women Year-Round: 5 Ways to Do It Beyond Women’s History Month 

Empowering Women Year-Round: 5 Ways to Do It Beyond Women's History Month 

March is the one month of the year when we honor women and their unique contributions throughout history. It’s a celebration that serves as a powerful reminder of what women can do despite the barriers and restrictions in their daily lives.  

Although celebrating every woman in the world is noble, true gender equality and women’s appreciation shouldn’t be confined to just a month. For our society to progress, companies and organizations need to learn ways of empowering women year-round, focusing on making it a norm rather than just a simple yearly celebration. 

History Behind the Celebration 

Women’s History Month originated from a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California.¹ A “Women’s History Week” was planned by a group called the Education Task Force in 1978. Originally celebrated in the second week of March, this event grew and spread nationwide as other communities began their own Women’s History Week celebrations. 

In 1980, a coalition of women’s groups and historians lobbied for national recognition. Led by the National Women’s History Alliance, they gained nationwide acknowledgment as President Jimmy Carter issued an inaugural Presidential Proclamation in February. This proclamation designated the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. 

In the following years, Congress passed additional resolutions to support, recognize, and acknowledge women’s history. Finally, in 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, Women’s History Month has been celebrated every March to highlight and honor the often-overlooked achievements and contributions of American women. 

The Limitations of a One-Month Long Celebration 

While Women’s History Month provides a dedicated time to highlight the vital role of women in history, limiting the celebration to just 31 days is not enough. Women have made invaluable contributions to society in countless ways across so many fields. Recognizing this, it becomes imperative to consider women and their well-being throughout the year instead of just a specific time. 

For 2024, Women’s History Month follows the theme “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion”. This ideology reflects the ongoing need to elevate women’s voices and ensure equal representation across all aspects of society. 

5 Ways of Empowering Women Year-Round 

Although March provides a meaningful opportunity to intentionally recognize trailblazing women, fulfilling the essence of this year’s theme requires sustained, year-round advocacy to champion continued progress toward gender equity and inclusion. Here are five things you can do to empower women every day: 

1. Foster Equality in the Workplace 

Promoting true equality in the workplace is crucial for empowering women. To truly appreciate women for what they can contribute, equality should be a year-round priority.  

Equal Pay Regardless of Demographics 

One of the most basic yet challenging components of workplace equality is receiving the same pay across genders and other demographic groups. Despite laws prohibiting pay discrimination, women, on average, still earn 17 percent less than men for doing the same jobs.²

To promote pay equality, companies should conduct periodic audits, eliminate negotiation for salaries, and offer transparency around pay ranges. Companies can address issues by reviewing compensation regularly to uncover discrepancies and biases. 

Unbiased Hiring and Promotions 

In addition to equal compensation, fair talent acquisition, and advancement procedures can empower female employees. Structured interviews, diverse hiring committees, and transparent evaluation criteria are just a few practices that can promote fairness in hiring and promotions. 

Transparency in Decision-Making 

The decisions of company leaders should always remain detailed and transparent. This is the best way for leaders to prove their commitment to gender equality. 

Making information available to all helps employees trust company processes and systems. By doing so, leaders would be able to foster a culture of fairness and accountability while empowering success for all employees. 

2. Create Supportive and Inclusive Policies 

Another vital strategy to empower women all year round is to implement thoughtful company policies that can help them feel supported and respected.  

Zero Tolerance to Harassment 

Companies should clearly define and prohibit gender-based discrimination and harassment with a written zero-tolerance policy. 

This policy should include multiple trusted reporting channels, anonymous report options, and transparent investigation procedures with proportionate consequences for violations. 

Family-Friendly Policies 

Based on research by the U.S. Department of Labor, more women take a leave from work to care for their loved ones.³ This includes caring for a child or a relative with severe health conditions. Here are a few initiatives you can consider: 

  • Parental leave for new parents 
  • Onsite childcare facilities 
  • Dependent care assistance programs 

3. Support Work-Life Balance of Employees 

Since women have many responsibilities outside of work, ensuring they can achieve a healthy work-life blend is crucial to empowering them for success.  

Flexible Work Arrangements 

The traditional nine-to-five work model may not always align with the diverse needs and schedules of female employees. Consider offering flexible work arrangements to help them strike a balance between life and work. This may include: 

  • Remote work 
  • Flextime 
  • Compressed workweek  

This allows employees to tailor their work schedules to accommodate family responsibilities and personal commitments. By providing flexibility in their work setups, employees can manage their time better and achieve a more stable professional and personal life. 

Health-related Considerations 

Women often face unique health-related challenges. Supporting women’s health needs can contribute to a more supportive work environment and enable women to prioritize their well-being without sacrificing their careers. Consider offering benefits such as: 

  • Comprehensive healthcare coverage 
  • Access to preventive care services 
  • Mental health support 
  • Pregnancy-related accommodations 
  • Wellness programs tailored to women’s health 

Read More: Beyond Balance – Embracing Work-Life Integration as a Continous Journey 

4. Encourage Career Development 

To empower professionals, it’s important to help create pathways for them to continuously cultivate new skills.  

Leadership Training and Mentorship Programs 

According to Silvia Lara, a Data Scientist at LinkedIn, only 32 percent or less than a third of global leadership positions are held by women.⁴ To improve these statistics, companies need to initiate support by sponsoring emerging female leaders to participate in career-boosting programs.  

Aside from training women, it’s also beneficial to pair them with executive mentors who can offer them practical tips and guidance that can only be achieved through experience. 

Exclusive Career Workshops 

Offering exclusive career workshops tailored to women’s needs and interests can be highly effective in providing targeted guidance and support. These workshops may cover a wide range of topics, such as leadership development, personal branding, and networking strategies. 

By providing a platform for women to enhance their skills and knowledge in a supportive and empowering environment, you can help them overcome barriers, build confidence, and advance their careers. 

Read More: 2023 Full Stack Developer Skills – 7 Must-Know Competencies for Career Advancement 

5. Promote Diversity and Inclusion 

In essence, empowering women relies on an inclusive workplace culture that celebrates the differences of its employees. To continuously promote diversity and inclusion, companies can go beyond required policies and implement initiatives that actively listen to women. 

Employee Resource Groups 

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that bring together individuals with shared characteristics, backgrounds, or interests. These groups serve as a valuable platform for employees to connect, support one another, and advocate for diversity and inclusion within the organization. 

By creating an ERG for women, companies can provide valuable spaces for women to network and seek advice from other women. Moreover, an ERG can foster a sense of belonging and empowerment among its members. 

Diverse Employee Spotlights 

Similar to the goal of Women’s History Month, one powerful way to recognize and celebrate the contributions of professionals is through diverse employee spotlights. By featuring stories, achievements, and experiences of employees from different demographic groups, companies can highlight the richness and diversity of their workforce. 

Diverse employee spotlights showcase individual accomplishments and reinforce a company’s commitment to increasing the visibility, appreciation, and representation of underrepresented groups. 

Read More: 3 Things a Diversity-Driven Culture Says About You 

FIND THE MOST EMPOWERING SOLUTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH FOCUS PEOPLE 

Here at Focus People, we firmly believe that professionals are not limited by their demographics, ethnicity, origin, age, or gender. With our years of experience in championing diversity in the workplace, we are confident that we can help you empower your company or your career with the right solutions. 

Rest assured that no matter the situation, our focus is on your success and finding the right candidate who can thrive in your company.  

Contact us today! 

References 

  1. “The 2024 National Women’s History Theme.” National Women’s History Alliance, 2024, nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/2024-whm-theme. 
  2. “Median Earnings for Women in 2021 Were 83.1 Percent of the Median for Men.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 Jan. 2022, www.bls.gov/median-earnings-for-women-in-2021-were-83-1-percent-of-the-median-for-men. 
  3. Herr, Jane, et al. “Gender Differences in Needing and Taking Leave.” U.S. Department of Labor, Nov. 2020, www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OASP/evaluation/GenderShortPaper_January2021. 
  4. Lara, Silvia. “Years on, and Women Are Still Not Fairly Represented in Leadership. Here’s What We Need to Do to Bridge the Gap.” LinkedIn, 7 Mar. 2023, linkedin.com/years-on-and-women-are-still-not-fairly-represented-in-leadership. 

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