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12 actions to promote women in SMEs

There are several policies and actions that you can implement to support the development of women and accompany the new impetus to women's empowerment in business.

Business and Enterprises

The reality of women in business is far from egalitarian. Concrete actions that you can face in everyday life to promote the empowerment of women in enterprises and SMEs:

  1. Avoid assigning tasks by gender. Review your preconceptions about what a man or woman can contribute to a job. There are many factors that define the ideal person for a job, and sex is just one more variable. Are there female mechanics or cadets in your SME?
  2. Consider them for positions of responsibility. Women have entered the labour market for decades, but it is customary for them to be left aside when they are promoted or job growth. That “glass ceiling” is a barrier that no one sees, but the numbers show that it still exists. How many women are in managerial positions?
  3. Ensure equal wages for equal tasks. Pay equity is an essential right. However, surveys show that women tend to earn between 20 and 40% less than their male peers. Make sure you don't fall into the “I pay a man more because he's a breadwinner” or “I don't raise her because she still spends everything on clothes.”
  4. Avoid discrimination in job interviews. It is not only a question of giving equal opportunities for men and women to enter a job, but also of breaking up with macho “vices”, such as digging deeper into women if they are in a couple or plan to have children.
  5. Review prejudices and mandates in family businesses. The role of women in the family business is varied. Understanding where the ideas that keep the owner's daughter in customer care come from while training the son in business management, is the starting point for a coexistence that encourages the family SME. Creating family protocols with gender equity is a huge challenge for family businesses.
  6. Take care of language and other sexist “details”. Prejudices are sometimes expressed in relatively minor aspects, which some time ago were tolerated and today are aggressive for many women: uniforms, job names, working rules, informal communication. Many airlines, for example, are reformulating their skirt uniforms and high heels for their on-board auxiliaries and replacing them with more comfortable and task-appropriate ones, beyond aesthetic function. Avoiding macho or inappropriate language in whatsapp groups or work meetings is a way to accompany the change in the day to day.
  7. Buy from women's businesses. In general, SME owners have had to overcome more barriers than their male counterparts. Consider this factor when choosing suppliers and prioritize and support women-led businesses.
  8. Provide training opportunities for women on your team. Of course, all employees need access to training, but be sure to pay special attention to giving it to women and encouraging them to participate, so that they can fully realize their potential.
  9. Promote the creation of women-led enterprises. If from your place in the business you have the possibility to support new businesses, especially promote those that contribute to inclusion.
  10. Provide support to families. Although families do not usually consist of women alone, they are the ones who in most cases take care of babies, schools or care for sick persons. Providing flexible leave and hours, providing nurseries and nursing care, paying home support and other benefits often help keep younger women from working development.
  11. Create protocols and train everyone. Awareness courses, internal rules and protocols for action against harassment and other situations that may affect the relationship between employees can help men and women internalize the rules, and the company to address conflicts with equity and gender perspective.
  12. Mentoring from woman to woman. If you are an experienced business woman, you must have faced situations where gender issues intermingled with others that make business life. Become a mentor for young people who start their careers so that they can break the “glass ceiling” (the external limitations that seem to prevent the rise in organizations) and “get our feet out of the mud” (internal limitations that keep us stuck to the ground and don't allow us to grow).

Source: Buenos Negocios

Publication Date: 08/03/2019

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