Skip to content

How HR Can Support and Empower Women in the Workplace

Women are highly valuable in any workplace—and not just because we make up half the population. Research from McKinsey notes that women are not just ambitious and hardworking, but also more empathetic and inclusive leaders. And with the Great Resignation still going strong, women aren’t hesitating to leave companies that don’t empower them. 

So how can HR teams focus on better-supporting women in the workplace? Here are five ways you can implement to empower the women in your company today. 

1. Create Mentorship Programs 

Helping the women in your workplace to support and empower other women is what mentoring programs are all about. HR teams should create formal mentoring programs for women in your organization so women can come together and share their experiences and knowledge with each other. 

Mentorship programs can provide a way to support women who are struggling with feelings of overwhelm and burnout, which is very common. In fact, 53% of women say their stress levels were higher in 2022 than a year before, and almost half feel burnt out. Offering women mentoring opportunities can help them build networks, give and receive advice from women in similar situations, and feel more empowered in their work.  

2. Ensure Equal Leadership Opportunities 

Companies have made great strides at including women in the workplace—but the farther up the career ladder you go, the more female representation drops off. Women made up just 26% of C-suite level roles in 2022, and the picture is still pretty grim in the levels immediately before (28% of SVPs and 32% of VPs). 

The problem begins in the jump from individual contributor to manager, according to the McKinsey report. To build your pipeline of future female leaders, your HR team needs to take a more proactive approach to ensure women are put on leadership tracks. Hiring more female leaders right now is a good step, but the path to a more equal future also begins with promoting your current individual contributors

3. Require Pay Equality 

The gender pay gap is also unfortunately still alive and well today. The onus shouldn’t be on individual women to negotiate their pay to ensure it’s equal—HR should also take a proactive role in compensating all employees equitably. 

You can look in your payroll and salary data for inequalities and remedy them to ensure all your employees are paid fairly for their work, regardless of their gender. Posting salaries in job listings is legally required in many states, but it’s also a good way to ensure more pay equity as women will know what they should be paid from the beginning of their relationship with your company. 

4. Offer Extended Maternity Leave

Becoming a mother, whether by giving birth or adopting a child, is an exciting time. But it’s also when new mothers need time to recover and bond with their new arrival. Giving women extended maternity leave—at least 12 paid weeks—shows them, and everyone at your organization, that you care about their wellbeing, family, and life outside of work.  

And to truly support every mother in your workplace, your leadership shouldn’t simply institute the policy—they should also take the full time offered themselves to show your employees that your organization is truly dedicated to supporting women in the workplace. 

5. Create a Supportive, Inclusive Workplace Culture 

59% of women have experienced harassment or microaggressions at work in the past year (and that’s up from 32% in 2021). And 93% of women think that speaking up about non-inclusive treatment will negatively impact their careers. 

These findings are distressing, and show the importance of creating a workplace culture where all women are respected, included, and treated as equals—because those places are sadly rare. 

Looking for more ways to help your company in their efforts at supporting women in the workplace? Cangrade can help—find out more about our diversity and inclusion solutions.