What Working Women Really Want For Valentine's Day
By nature or by nurture, women are extraordinarily prone to putting our own needs second—it’s why we’re reminded to put on our own oxygen masks first. We are the first to sacrifice our own plans and we’re more likely to work late helping a teammate, despite receiving less recognition. More than forty years of research has proven we make better managers, and our energy and encouragement has been proven to lead to more engaged and higher performing teams. Women make great employees.
And yet, despite all that, we face workplace discrimination each and every day.
Women are less likely to get hired than men (one study found replacing a woman’s name with a man’s name on a resume improved the odds of getting hired by 61 percent). We also get less day-to-day support and less access to senior leaders, and are significantly less likely to be promoted. Women are less represented in corporate America than men, especially amongst leadership, despite earning more college degrees for the last 30 years. Twenty-five percent of us have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment at work, and another 17 percent of us have been sexually harassed by a fellow employee or manager. Oh—and we put up with all of it while making less on the dollar than our male counterparts.
It’s uncivilized. It’s unconscionable. But mostly, it’s unfair. So, screw over-priced roses, and forget about heart shaped candy; this February 14, show the working ladies in your life some love and respect.
This Valentine’s Day, give her what she really wants: equality. Here are 10 ways you can spread the love.
1. Pay us what we deserve
Yeah, I said it. We’re still making less than 80 cents on the dollar compared to our male counterparts. Start by acknowledging the problem, because by just disclosing a gender pay disparity, you actually increase the number of women being hired and promoted.
2. Grab us a coffee
And don’t follow it up with, “You just look so tired today.” Even though we are—since women need an average of 20 minutes more sleep a night and yet still end up sleeping less. Just bring us the coffee with a smile, please and thank you.
3. Stop being afraid of the f-word (feminism)
If you stand for equality, then you stand for feminism. That’s really all there is to it.
4. Stop assuming we’re more junior than we are
More than 20 percent of women are mistaken for someone at a much lower professional level—that’s twice as often as men. Leave your assumptions at the door.
5. Don’t ask if we’re on our period
6. Recommend us for projects based on our interests, not our gender
And don’t hand out administrative tasks to us because you think we’re “naturally better” at it. If I’m going to help plan the holiday party, it’s because I want to celebrate my team, not because I have ovaries.
7. Steer clear of the phrase “like a girl” and comments about our appearance
And if we do anything “like a girl,” understand it’s a freakin’ compliment.
In the words of Christina Yang: “If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.” In other words, yes we might look nice for a meeting—but comment on my presentation, not my outfit.
8. Stock free tampons in the women’s room
It only costs employers $4.67 per woman, per year to offer all female essentials.
9. Learn the difference between being the “boss” and being “bossy”
Women are more likely to be labeled as “intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy” when they negotiate. As Sheryl Sandberg explains, “We need to get rid of the word ‘bossy” and bring back the word ‘feminist.’” That realization was six years ago. Isn’t it time we got our shit together?
10. Last but certainly not least: Don’t grab us by the anything.
Mandy spends her days working in public relations, specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility - a job which not only fuels her soul but also pays her San Francisco rent. She spends her (virtually nonexistent) free time exploring the Bay Area craft beer scene, working on her rock collection and wishing her cat would be the big spoon sometimes. For additional sass and details of her life held together by caffeine and dry shampoo, follow her on twitter at @WayToRepresent.