International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Most importantly, it’s a day that reminds us to take action for women.
Why is International Women’s Day so important?
Beehive is a certified woman-owned business and a Certified B Corporation committed to business as a force for good. Our purpose and values guide what we stand for — and who and what we stand up for — in our communities and in the world. International Women’s Day is important to us because empowering women is a key part of our social impact commitment: We stand up for all women and for equal pay. And we stand up for empowering women to advance and lead in business.
It is urgent to empower women in business right now. Millions of women have left the workforce entirely or significantly reduced work schedules due to the pandemic, primarily for caretaking. Black mothers, Hispanic mothers and single mothers have been among the hardest hit. Mita Mallick, Carta’s head of inclusion, equity and impact, in her recent HBR article “5 Ways to Bring Women Back into the Post-Pandemic Workforce” warns us, “If left unaddressed, this exodus could set women’s progress in the workplace back an entire generation.”
This comes just after women, for the first time in history, had eclipsed men in the workforce. “Just before the pandemic hit, for the first time ever … we had more women employed than men,” said Michael Madowitz, an economist at the Center for American Progress, in this New York Times article. “And now we are back to late 1980s levels of women in the labor force.”
What can we all do?
Join us this International Women’s Day to support and empower those people in your network who identify as women, advocate for gender equity and fund non-profit organizations that support women, especially women of color. Here are a few ideas our team is working to implement.
Listen and Offer Immediate Support. Talk to the women in your organization and ask how they are doing. Ask specifically what they need and find out how you can offer immediate support if they are struggling. Maybe it’s a reduced, part-time or more flexible work schedule or even a short-term leave of absence. Perhaps they need help with accessing the organization’s mental health resources. Maybe more regular check-ins to provide help with setting priorities, rescheduling or renegotiating deadlines, or shifting projects would help. They key is to ask, listen and take quick action to provide immediate support and relief during this time of pandemic-fueled stress.
Support Your Network. Check on the women in your network. Reach out and connect. Are there women who have been laid off for whom you can help make connections? Are there young women in your network who have recently graduated and are struggling to launch careers during the pandemic? How can you be a mentor or connector and guide to them during this challenging time? What unique skills or resources can you offer to your professional associations that could champion, inspire, advance and support women?
Clearly Explain and Make Benefits Accessible. Make sure the women in your organization clearly understand company benefits and policies regarding leave, family benefits and mental health care. Make these resources highly accessible, share them frequently and promote their use.
Review Your Organization’s Policies: Does your organization have a pay equity policy? Pay equity is a method of eliminating discrimination related to gender, race, disability, LGTBQ+ or other status when establishing and maintaining wages. If not, work with your HR department or find a consultant and get started right now.
Post-Pandemic Hiring: Organizations can demonstrate their commitment to women in business by not penalizing women for leaves of absence taken during the pandemic. The same is true for removing bias against women who have career experience gaps during years spent caring for children. Getting women back into the workforce benefits everyone.
Make a Financial Contribution. There are so many organizations that support women in business — especially women of color.
- In our home state of Minnesota, Women Venture provides women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to achieve economic success through small business ownership.
- Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is a statewide community foundation that makes grants, invests in research, advocates policy and forges cross-sector partnerships to create a world of equal opportunity for women and girls.
- The Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA) is the first Black woman-owned specific public benefit corporation in Minnesota. BWWA leads social impact work for Black women obtaining economic stability and prosperity.
- Lunar Startups specializes in growth, connection and innovation for Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+, women and non-binary entrepreneurs in our region.
- Nationally, consider supporting The Loveland Foundation, The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and National Black Women’s Justice Institute.
Get Inspired. If you want more ideas about what you can do to support women and caretakers in business, this NYT article offers tangible inspiration and action from companies in the United States and around the world, from paying for or subsidizing childcare to reducing work schedules.