How Women Can Support Women At Work: Older and experienced women, especially the few who reach significant decision making positions in organisations hold enormous power that can help in the growth of younger and newer female colleagues. Specifically, in a country like India where women’s participation in the workforce is appalling, the support of their female seniors can help them advance in their career manifold.
Around 48 percent of India’s population are women. But staggeringly, less than one-third of those are present in the workforce. This is a result of multiple factors. But of the one-third population of women that do work, how can we ensure their wellbeing and success in their careers? If you are a woman at a senior position in your place of work, here are seven ways in which you can help your younger female colleagues:
Sharing your experience
Experience is the greatest teacher. When younger women are stepping into the workforce, they may encounter various problems which they may have never been prepared for. In such situations, the experience of their senior female colleagues can be like a treasure trove.
Of course, the guidance of the parents of individuals matters but a report by Stanford University stated that, “When older adults contribute to the well-being of youth, it cultivates a sense of purpose and extends benefits both ways.” Focusing solely on your mentee and personally mentoring them in a direction of success can lead to monumental improvements that no one could have imagined.
Let them pick their battles
Mentorship will only help when you provide an opportunity to grow. Hand holding and spoon-feeding favour no one. Challenges are food for growth. Allow discomfort the feeling of conquering your battles is unparalleled.
Giving them responsibilities
Allot responsibilities and important tasks to them. Not only is it a sign to show trust and express how much you believe it may become the stepping stone they need in their career to take up individual responsibilities.
Do not stay silent when you hear complaints
A subplot in the Indian web series Bombay Begums revolved around a newer female employee’s complaint against sexual harassment by her boss being ignored being denied by her senior female colleague. In the show, the senior eventually goes on to take action and the formal procedure for the case is followed.
We live in a world where a “survivor” is blamed. If you find yourself in a situation where you can have even a minimal amount of influence, then your actions can go a long way for your younger colleague.
Encourage them to take risks
Taking risks is a huge part of growing. The quest for stability and the desire to establish oneself can be the speed breakers in the careers of many young female professionals.
Allow some room for errors
With this heightened amount of worry in the head, a young person walks into their place of work every day. The younger generation grew up with social media. Cancel culture is the Gen Z version of being shunned by the community. To see the image of those who worked decades to reach where they are, crumble within seconds, has raised us to be naturally more conscious about our actions than any generation ever before. If you are a senior person at a workplace, maybe consider this aspect of your younger colleague once in a while.
In the end, a collaborative mindset is key. Not being divided by the age difference and instead of joining forces can result in a mutually beneficial learning situation that will help bridge the gaps of gender inequality that holds us all down. Your support for your younger female colleagues will not only help them but generations of women and people in the future.