The number of female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses has increased in recent years, telling us that there are more women in leadership positions across the board. But what about those companies that are owned or whose executives are predominantly men? How can men in those situations advocate for women in the workplace? We asked five executives to give their best advice for how men can support women in leadership positions. Here’s what they said:
1. Men can support women by creating a flexible workplace.
Men can better support women by advocating for flexible company practices that provide more opportunities to work remotely. There also needs to be a cultural shift beyond the workplace toward men assuming more responsibilities at home. When the obligations of home life are shared more equally, women can have the balanced career/home lifestyle that men may take for granted.
—Rachel Lipson, founder and CEO, Blue Balloon Songwriting School
2. Make sure more women are on the executive team.
Hire more executive women: Every boardroom I am in is generally 95% male, and it is always like walking into a party where everyone knows each other and you are the outsider having to prove yourself over and over again. It is exhausting!
3. Men can support women by treating them as equals.
One of the most important things men can do to support women in leadership positions is to treat them as the equals that they are in business. It may sound easy, but there is a lot of unconscious bias in the business world, and it takes a concerted effort to overcome it. They can also help to mentor and advise women just as they would do for male leaders.
4. Let women speak—and listen to them.
When women speak, let them speak. Don’t talk over or interrupt them. Similarly, if you see a client who constantly asks you questions that should be directed toward the woman you’re with, don’t answer them. Redirect that client to the woman instead.
—Erica Douglass, co-owner and VP marketing, 1Up Repairs
5. Men can support women by giving them opportunities.
I think it’s the same thing you can do to support anyone who might not have a reason to feel like an outsider or in the minority within any group—pay particular attention to creating opportunities for them to participate and contribute to important decisions.
—Harj Taggar, chairman and co-founder, Triplebyte
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine and has been updated. Photo by Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock