Gender gap idea and sex equality or inequality concept as male and female sign shaped into stone … [+]
Women are creative leaders. This creativity has allowed women to look outside the box, overcome a wide gender gap, and enjoy immense success.
Still, there is a long road ahead for women seeking to close the gender gap entirely. A recent World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the closing of the gender gap by almost 36 years.
However, as women continue to use their creativity, advancements will occur in closing the gender gap. Here are three creative ways women can begin closing the gender gap starting today:
Among the leaders championing this cause, Virginie Cantin is a LinkedIn Coach and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the book 60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery. Her soul desire as an entrepreneur has always been the same: to help women climb the corporate ladder and close the gender gap. In 2020, she realized that using LinkedIn was an effective and creative way to do this.
“Many people are still surprised when I remind them that LinkedIn is literally a search engine,” says Cantin. “If it’s a search engine, that must mean there can be powerful SEO. Furthermore, if women optimize their profile effectively, leaders will lose the ability to say that a woman is not qualified for a certain role. The high-ranking LinkedIn profiles of women everywhere will be a direct discretization to these biased leaders.”
The more visible a woman is on LinkedIn, the less she has to chase down opportunities. Instead, recruiters will find her and want to hire her based on her skills and profile positioning. Building this type of profile takes work, but any woman can do it.
“Like any search engine, LinkedIn has an algorithm,” says Cantin. “Optimizing your profile for the algorithm leads to more page views, targeted connections, and opportunities. If you are wondering how to start, begin with keywords. Find the most popular keywords related to your industry and include variations of those keywords throughout your entire profile. Don’t forget to use these words in your job descriptions, title, about section, and headline. This saturation of keywords will make your profile highly relevant in your industry searches, and LinkedIn will be more likely to show your profile to recruiters.”
Portrait of beautiful confident smiling african-american businesswoman standing with arms crossed in … [+]
Style and Confidence Coach, Samantha Harman, is the founder of The Style Editor. After becoming an editor at 27, Harman wondered how to dress and what to wear. She described this journey to personal self-confidence as a “minefield.”
“As a woman leader, you feel that you have to conform to all kinds of rules to be taken seriously—but you can’t win,” said Harman. “But I knew that to give the world my best; I had to feel my best. And I navigated the tricky world of work dressing to the point where women started asking me to style them too.”
Harman feels your confidence will inevitably grow as you determine your own fashion sense and style. The more confident women there are in the workplace, the more the gender gap will close.
Bestselling author and speaker Jack Zenger is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development firm agrees. Zenger suggests that dress and grooming are directly related to levels of confidence and self-esteem.
“These are immediate and tangible signals to others about how you feel about yourself. Beyond that, they have been shown to make a difference in how someone feels about themselves. Bottom line, people feel more confident when they know they look nice.”
When discussing the gender gap, it is impossible to ignore the gender wage gap. Pew Research Center … [+]
When discussing the gender gap, it is impossible to ignore the gender wage gap. Pew Research Center reports that the gap has remained steady over the past 15 years, as women earn 84% of what men in similar roles are paid. Therefore, closing the gender gap means closing the wage gap. The question is, how is this done?
Wies Bratby is the founder of the coaching and consulting practice Women In Negotiation. She teaches women to negotiate effectively for their dream jobs and salaries. Bratby is also president of Lean In Switzerland, a nonprofit that empowers women to reach their goals and create a more inclusive workforce.
“In my previous corporate roles, I often saw amazing women work twice as hard as their male counterparts, only to be “rewarded” with half the accolades and a (much) lower salary to boot,” says Bratby. “They accepted this because they didn’t have the courage or didn’t know how to navigate and negotiate their careers proactively.”
There are many ways women can seek to refine their negotiating skills, whether through courses with an expert or practice. Bratby’ recommends becoming “crystal-clear” on your career goals and desired salaries. Direct knowledge of your worth and brilliance will always be influential when asserting yourself in a negotiation.
According to the Founder of Global Hope, Dr. Margie Warrell, women tend to be more cautious. However, negotiating does require courage. Warrell advises that women repeatedly learn to lean further into risk and let the confidence come.
“You may not get the perfect 10 every time you muster up your courage and put yourself ‘out there. However, you will grow visibility, learn skills, nurture talents, acquire knowledge and earn respect (from yourself first of all) that you could never do by playing it safe and sticking with what’s comfortable,” said Warrell.
“Don’t wait until you feel brave or you’re sure you can’t mess up. Rather step up to the changemakers plate. Raise your voice. Own your value. Claim your seat. Might you sometimes pay a larger penalty for your decisiveness, assertiveness, or miss-steps than your male colleagues would do? Yep. It happens. But waiting until gender bias and double binds are eradicated from our gendered power structures may take far more than your lifetime. This is why it is vital to rally more women to step bravely into their power as changemakers and redefine power through a non-gendered lens.”