Employee Relations, HR Management

Celebrating Women’s History Month in the Workplace

If your company is thinking of ways to celebrate Women’s History Month, you should probably be looking at how to observe it the entire year. By doing so, you can help to make your workplace more equal and inclusive, something that both employers and employees agree is important. 

Honoring Women in U.S. History

One effective way to celebrate Women’s History Month is by highlighting women whose contributions to society are well known, or at least should be. Depending on your industry, you can choose the appropriate women from this list or add your own, and compare the struggles and achievements of these women to what women still face in the workplace and the world today. 

  • Sacagawea guided Lewis and Clark across the Louisiana Territory, all while carrying a baby on her back.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the leading figures in the early Women’s Rights Movement.
  • Madam C.J. Walker was the first self-made woman millionaire by creating a line of hair products for African-American women. 
  • Frances Perkins became the first woman Secretary of Labor in 1933. Perkins pushed for a minimum wage, work-hour limits, and the legal age to work.
  • Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress and  the first Black woman to run for U.S. President.
  • Maya Lin won a contest while an undergraduate at Yale to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. She later designed the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, among other notable works. 
  • Misty Copeland became the first Black woman to be named a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris is the first Black, and Southeast-Asian-American, woman Vice President of the United States.
  • Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are the first Indigenous women to be elected to Congress.
  • Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.

Two women working on a WW2 fighter plane in the 1940's

Go Beyond Recognition

Research from Accenture shows that a majority of the workforce thinks that a diverse workplace is integral to a business’s success. A gap arises between their perceptions of progress, however: 68% of leaders think they’re creating “empowering and inclusive” workplaces, while only 36% of employees agree. 

“Closing the perception gap starts with leaders understanding there is a gap. It is an opportunity for leaders to connect with and involve their people, to truly understand how they feel at work,” according to Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer. 

So when March is over, don’t stop working toward diversity and equality in the workplace.

Here are some simple — not easy — ways to better connect with female employees while being an ally for all women in your community: 

  • Commit to pay equity.
  • Recognize the prevalence of sexual harassment. 
  • Use women-run businesses as vendors.
  • Put more women in executive-level positions. 
  • Fundraise for a woman-focused charity organization and match employee contributions. 
  • Encourage employees to volunteer at a local women’s charity during work hours. 

For more information about Women’s History Month and diversity and inclusion, contact us today 

 

Additional sources: SHRM, International Women’s Day, Accenture, Society of Women Engineers

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