Women's Equality is observed on August 26 in the U.S. Give one way a company can celebrate this national observance with a hybrid workforce.
To help your company to best celebrate Women’s Equality Day, we asked CEOs and HR leaders this question for their best ideas. From supporting local female-owned businesses to getting a panel of female senior leaders to share on a virtual platform, there are several ways your company can celebrate this national observance with a hybrid workforce.
Here are 11 ways to celebrate women's equality day:
- Support a Local Female-Owned Business
- Get The Whole Team Reading on Female Equality
- Ensure Women Employees Receive Clear Feedback
- Highlight Women Leaders in Your Organization
- Educate Your Staff About The Day
- Check Your Company Policies to Redress Shortfalls in Women's Equality
- Consider 2022 Your Year for Call-to-Action
- Celebrate The Day as Your Female Employees Want
- Launch a Female to Female Mentorship Program
- Feature The Progress Your Company is Making in Women's Equality
- Ask Employees to Share Stories of Triumph
- Get a Panel of Female Senior Leaders to Share on a Virtual Platform
Support a Local Female-Owned Business
COVID has shut down local businesses worldwide and has led to waves of layoffs. Now is an ideal time to reach out and buy something from a local woman-owned business that needs support. From the local farmer’s market, to online collections, or new programs that support the charities you love, find a woman that runs a business and put in an order to celebrate Women’s Equality Day as a unified, hybrid workforce.
Get The Whole Team Reading on Female Equality
Offering to purchase employees their choice of one print or ebook focusing on female equality is an excellent way to celebrate women in the workforce. Showing support by furthering our education on gender equality strengthens us as a team as we read works by feminist authors past and present. And team members can find a great list of books to inspire their selection at berlinpeck.org. From the right to vote to modern activism, they'll find a range of diverse experiences and perspectives on women's lives and status from across the globe.
Ensure Women Employees Receive Clear Feedback
Harvard Business Review released an article a couple of years ago that showed one impediment to the development and promotion of women is inequitable feedback. Women were more likely to get feedback on their soft skills, unrelated to organizational outcomes. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to get technical, outcome-based feedback. This year, companies can celebrate Women's Equality Day by systematically ensuring that women receive equitable clarity (of expectations), feedback, and support for their development, ascension, and overall success.
Highlight Women Leaders in Your Organization
To observe/celebrate Women's Equality Day, companies can highlight women leaders in their professions, industry, or own companies. Recognizing the hybrid workforce, thismcan be done in a newsletter, zoom/slack chat, or even by hosting a virtual/hybrid lunch and learn.
Educate Your Staff About The Day
There are many ways but an essential one that comes to mind is educating your staff. It is important to integrate learning into the flow of one's work day. In this particular case, educate your staff about the observance of Women's Equality Day. This can be done in a collaborative effort or through self-learning. You just need to provide a guide or means so your employees can learn about this important observance.
Check Your Company Policies to Redress Shortfalls in Women's Equality
What to avoid: don't just repost an image paired with a hashtag for participation points. Get active! Show support. Make an effort to contribute time to a worthy cause. Don't burden your ERC or assigned team members to make the magic happen - the effort should be led by your organization's leaders.
Before you do anything, first do an organizational policy check. Does your company do all the things that support women's equality in the workplace? Are you authentic in your support of women's equality? If you do elect to get involved in a meaningful way... you don't have to leverage that good deed for social media, or public relations cred. Talk about your efforts in the organizational slack channel, your next town hall, or company newsletter.
Consider 2022 Your Year for Call-to-Action
Every president since Nixon has proclaimed August 26th as Women's Equality Day. Yet, in 2022, women only make up 8% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. How can organizations address this challenge? Start by identifying if there are any areas where women may find barriers to advancement or resistance due to predominantly male spaces in your company.
Next, figure out where you can create an impact. For example, do you have a mentoring initiative that includes or focuses on women, a leadership development program that considers the unique challenges women may face, and/or are women being actively sponsored in your organization? Inspirational books as gifts or social media posts to commemorate the day are generally not going to create lasting change on their own. System enhancements, policy change, and meaningful programs are what can help women continue to advance and thrive.
Consider 2022 an intentional Call to Action Year, not one of thoughts and prayers.
Celebrate The Day as Your Female Employees Want
In my experience hybrid businesses can support a positive workplace culture by celebrating the diversity that makes their teams better. One way organizations can champion this day is to ask the women in their organization how they would like the day to be celebrated by all employees, listen to the response, and act on the results.
Employers may find that some ideas that typically come out of this asking is a request to support all employees by allowing them to create their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. Examples can be volunteering with a local nonprofit that empowers women and girls, providing an online “lunch ‘n learn” for all employees where the thought leader encourages, and empowering them to support the diversity in their workplace while providing lunch with choices from women-led restaurants, or give all employees a gift box including items from specifically women-owned businesses.
Launch a Female to Female Mentorship Program
According to Forbes, 82% of women believe having a women mentor is very beneficial to building leadership skills and connections.
In observance of Women's Equality Day, launch a women's mentorship program connecting experienced female colleagues and women mentees to foster growth and connection. Find female mentors who want to guide female mentees through the process of building leadership skills and advancing women in the company. Female mentors can cultivate a community at work to share their own experiences, knowledge, and any issues related to gender equality.
By establishing a mentorship program, an organization will build a community at work with support and a sense of belonging.
Feature The Progress Your Company is Making in Women's Equality
Let's celebrate Women's Equality day with a higher level of integrity and accountability. Use this day to feature the progress your company's making towards achieving an equitable workplace in terms of equal pay, gender representation, mentorship programs, donations, women vendors, workshops, etc... Share that report on your website, social media, among employees, and stakeholders. Use that day to keep yourself accountable and celebrate with the women in the organization the changes that improve their lives every day. Make that day worth celebrating!
Ask Employees to Share Stories of Triumph
Getting to know your colleagues authentically and creating a sense of community has been a challenge in this new hybrid environment. Using engaging platforms such as "Workplace" where two-way communication/conversations are encouraged allows employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions at their leisure.
For #womensequalityday request employees to share stories of themselves or women that have inspired them and why. This allows employees to participate and empower one another. Empowered women empower women!
Another idea is to highlight women within your organization that have side hustles and raffle gift cards to support/market their business internally. We as women fight for our rights on a daily basis; to have a voice, to have a seat at the table, to be respected! We have a long way to go as a society, but we should also remember to celebrate our wins and be inspired by the women who have paved the way for us!
Get a Panel of Female Senior Leaders to Share Virtually
A great way to celebrate Women’s Equality Day is by turning it into a day of leadership development for all. Engage senior leaders by inviting female executives to sit on a virtual panel to share their experiences progressing in their careers while underrepresented. Also engage executives that do not identify as women in discussions about how they show up as allies to their female colleagues. The goal is to empower women leaders to continue to thrive and educate & inspire others to be better allies.