Actions you can take to support young women

You can support a young woman you know who is on her way to achieving great things. As an employer. As a colleague. As a friend. As a parent. As a partner.

Everyone can play a part. What are you going to do?

If you’re family

  1. Don’t stereotype the jobs men and women should do. Instead pass on the belief that anyone can succeed in any industry, regardless of their gender.
  2. Share the load! We can all cook, clean and provide care, it’s time to step up. In 2020, over 50% of young women we surveyed said unpaid work gets in the way of them being able to take on paid work.

If you’re a partner

  1. Share the ‘worry work’ like organising family schedules and budgets. Studies have shown that too much of the mental load can impact a woman’s career.
  2. Take your parental leave if you can. Sharing childcare longer term, will have a positive impact on women’s careers.

If you’re a friend

  1. Have open conversations about your salaries. More clarity around what people earn can help to end pay discrimination.
  2. Pass on opportunities and share your networks. Could a young woman in your life benefit from being introduced to someone else in your network? Put them in touch.
  3. Call out everyday sexism and misogyny wherever you see it. Whether it’s on social media, at work, in public or at home, don’t just let it pass.

If you’re an employer

  1. Advertise all jobs as flexible from day one. Not only will you help make your workplace more accessible for women and increase applicants, you will also diversify your workforce and improve staff retention.
  2. Show the salary! To help close the gender pay gap, display the salary on all job ads.
  3. Review your pay gaps and make the information accessible to all staff. Share them with staff and put action plans in place to address them.
  4. Set up or encourage networks for young women. Whether it’s an in-person lunchtime chat, or a group that meets monthly online, creating spaces for young women to get together can help boost their confidence and prospects.
  5. Begin the conversation this International Women’s Day and start learning. Source training for staff and encourage meaningful conversations about gender equality in the workplace.
  6. Partner with Young Women’s Trust.

If you’re a line manager

  1. Offer training and share your networks to help young women develop the skills they need to progress in their role.
  2. Don’t assume young women are incapable of doing a task because of their age. Give them opportunities to try and offer constructive feedback to help them succeed.
  3. Share the non-promotable work – taking notes and making tea shouldn’t just fall to young women.
  4. Endorse and recommend young women you work with on LinkedIn to help boost their public career profile.

If you’re a colleague

  1. If a young woman is interrupted, whether in a meeting or an informal conversation, call it out or apologise.
  2. Be a cheerleader for young women in your team. Put them forward for opportunities to learn and develop if you can – it could make all the difference to her career.
  3. Challenge your thoughts and feelings towards women – you could have unconscious bias. Is she bossy and intimidating or assertive and empowered?

Anyone can…

  1. Signpost a young woman to our Work It Out coaching and CV feedback service.
  2. Donate or fundraise to support our work with young women. Download our IWD 2023 Activism Pack and find fun ways to raise money.
  3. Follow Young Women’s Trust on InstagramTwitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, like and share our updates.

If you know a young woman and want to do more to support her, I’d say the simplest thing is to just to reach out and check in. It can make such a big difference to someone’s day. Especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a while.

Holly Jevons

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