There’s so much talk about gender diversity in the workplace – and things are improving, which is great news not just for women, but for businesses in general. After all, a more diverse workplace is a more successful one.

But having more women in the workplace isn’t enough. It isn’t just about numbers. It’s about women taking ownership of their careers, growing with the business, and businesses themselves benefitting from having empowered women in their workforce.

So, what’s holding women back, and how can businesses do more to support them?

The stats

According to the International Labour Organization, the global labour force comprises 47% women and 72% men. In the UK, there are around 9% more men in the workforce than women. That’s still a huge difference. It’s easy for women to get drowned out by sheer numbers.

Women have also been more affected by the pandemic than men, primarily becoming the ones to take care of children who were learning from home. And now the workforce has opened back up, it tends to be women who need more flexible working options due to childcare.

Another reason that women are held back could be a gap in perception. While 86% of men think that women have as many or more opportunities than they do, only 56% of women agree.

There’s also the gender pay gap, persistent stereotyping, and the fact that there are fewer women in leadership roles to set the tone for the rest of the organisation.

But there are things businesses can do to overcome these challenges and support the women in their workplace to feel more empowered.

empower women in the workplace

Image sourced from International Labour organization website

4 ways businesses can empower women at work

1. Offer flexible or hybrid working 

We’re all much more familiar with flexible working than we were in 2019 – and that has to be a good thing for many women. Employers who offer a hybrid working solution are essentially offering a better work/life/family balance. This gives women the opportunity to grow in their careers rather than being left behind.

2. Provide mentorship

Women often feel comfortable talking about their careers and aspirations in a mentorship situation. Mentorship can help women find a path to things like requesting a promotion or a pay rise, becoming more confident in meetings and making their voice heard.

3. Recruit for diversity

In 2021, there were just six female CEOs in UK FTSE 100 companies. And they were paid less than the 94 men who were CEOs.

And while not every woman is going to be a CEO, a lack of diversity isn’t going to do your business any favours. Women should be recognised across your business on an equal footing, and they should be encouraged to go for promotions.

A gender-equal mindset and an awareness of unconscious bias in your recruitment process is a good starting point.

4. Power up: provide coaching for women

Implementing an ongoing support system for women in your organisation, from graduates to board level execs, can help provide women with the tools they need to progress their careers and feel empowered in the workplace.

For women specifically, City CV, part of the Hanover Group, has four workshops that aim to provide the skills and confidence necessary for career success:

  • Breaking the workplace taboo: Menopause and your career (for female employees)
  • Sorry not sorry. Why women apologise too much. Shift the narrative & take control of your career. Watch this video to find out more. 
  • The five challenges women face in their careers and how to tackle them
  • Redefine brand you and drive your career forward
  • Be the change. Period: Menopause and the workplace (for HR teams and leaders)

Find out more about how our in-depth group workshops and masterclasses on the current topics affecting your teams can support you and your employees.