Throughout my career in a male dominated industry as a woman in tech, I have learnt a thing or two about what we, as female employees, like and dislike and how we like to be treated. To be honest, I have been quite fortunate in my career and have met some great managers who have treated me with respect, but I understand not everyone has the same luck. If you are a manager with female team members, I hope this article will help you understand them better and retain them.
Do give us opportunities to grow
We know we are a minority but give us equal rights and equal opportunities to grow as our male counterparts. Don't dismiss us because you are concerned that we might not be able to cope. We will let you know if we can't cope.
Do treat every female differently
Just as you would treat every male employee differently, treat each female employee differently. Don't put all female employees in the same bucket. Every one of us is different and we all have different goals, different personalities and different career aspirations. Please don't assume that we are all the same because we are of the same gender.
Do respect our choices
Maybe we don't want to party and drink all night long after work. Or we like to eat a lot of salads. Or we prefer certain type of beverages. Kindly respect our choices and don't make politically incorrect jokes that target only female. We might laugh along with you but deep down, we don't appreciate it. Yes even if it appears true.
Do pay us what we are worth
This is actually quite simple and straight forward in theory but also the most complicated issue in gender equality. Maybe we don't ask or negotiate our salary as often as we should. But if you are a great manager and you value us, pay us what we are worth. Pay us what you would pay someone else of the same role and responsibilities. Even if we don't ask for it.
Don't soften your feedback
We know you are trying to spare our feelings but no thanks. Don't soften feedback at performance reviews or one on one conversations because you worry about hurting our feelings. Maybe our feelings will be hurt, but if you don't give us honest feedback then how do you expect us to reach our full potential?
Don't try to compare us to your mother or wife or any female figure in your life
Maybe you mean well and some of us might not find it offensive but it's better to be safe then sorry. After all, we are not them. Unless we are really your mother or wife, ha.
Don't evaluate us differently
Researches have shown that women are evaluated based on past performance and men are evaluated based on potential. This is not right. As a manager, you have the power to change this. Please use the same method of evaluation for everyone regardless of their gender and have a fair system.
Don't feel uneasy to approach us
We are not in high schools anymore. Don't feel uneasy to talk to us. Keep it professional.
So there you have it, simple, straight-forward and no-nonsense list of Dos and Don'ts. If you are female and agree with what I have listed above, do share this article on social media. If you are a manager and learned something from this article, good on you. Please get in touch with me if you wish to discuss further on gender equality in workplace.