Bathrooms. OK, not a glamorous start, but here’s no getting away from it, bathrooms matter. I recently worked in an office building where every floor had a men’s room, but the ladies were only on every other floor. I know of a colleague who was working on a building site where there were over 20 men, 1 woman, and only 1 toilet. Not cool. Bathroom equality, please!
Continuing on the bathroom theme, ladies’ loos with no sanitary product machines. I know I’m not the only person who occasionally gets taken by surprise and then has had to improvise until I can get to the shops at lunchtime. Conversely, I went to the loo in a hotel in the US recently and each cubicle had a basket of tampons and pads. Now that’s inclusive.
Slippy floors. OK so you could argue that we should resist the patriarchy and refuse to wear heels, but on the other hand we want to get the job/the deal/the meeting so sometimes there is pressure to conform. But how many times have I walked into an office building and skidded across a highly-polished floor? And even if that doesn’t happen, the clack-clack-clack of heels on marble is like wearing a cattle bell. Woman approaching! Take cover!
Visitor’s passes. Does your company have them on one of those folding clips? Yes? Ever tried clipping one to a dress? They are built for lapels. And, if you do happen to clip them on to your shirt or jacket, essentially it feels like you are inviting people to stare at your chest. #awkward
Performance reviews. Emergent research from Stanford shows that women fare worse than men in performance reviews, and are less likely to get constructive feedback which might help them take the next step up:
The objective of constructive feedback is to allow an employee to focus on the positives while identifying areas where there is room for growth. For example, such feedback might be, “Stephanie, your replies to partners about client matters are often not on point” rather than “Stephanie, you have missed important opportunities to provide clear and concise information, such as X. I have some thoughts on how you could prevent that from happening again, such as Y.”
Without this, women are less likely to know what actions they can take, thus less likely to appear to have acted on feedback, thus…. You get the idea.
So, well done! You have some women on the board. That’s a great step. Now ask yourself how included you make them feel.
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