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  • Writer's pictureNua Team

International Women's Day 2024: It Is Up To All Of Us To Inspire Inclusion

international women's day

The theme this year for International Women’s Day got me thinking about my own experience with inclusion as a woman in the workforce.

Early in my career, I sat at the table as the only woman with a sense of pride, feeling accomplished that I was even there. But, as time went on and I (frequently) continued to be the only woman in the room, that sense of pride began to fade and be replaced with frustration. Especially as my level of accountability and authority increased, it was hard to ignore the behaviors that continued to make me feel like I didn't belong there.

Here are some examples:

🍸 The spontaneous after-work drinks

Unfortunately, much of caregiving continues to rest on the shoulders of women. Those critical years when a woman's career accelerates often coincide with starting a family.  There's a lot that needs to happen to address this challenge, but one simple thing I always found difficult was the spontaneous after-work drinks. 

It simply wasn’t possible for me to be part of them without advanced notice and that inevitably resulted in more camaraderie, shared stories, and stronger relationships between my male colleagues.

🤝 The meeting after the meeting

As a member of an executive team, I was an active participant in the regular cadence of leadership meetings. I started to notice that different decisions were being made around topics that had been previously discussed in those meetings. 

I finally realized that there was the “meeting after the meeting” among a select group of male leaders with the CEO, in which they continued to discuss topics and ultimately make decisions.

🕺 Mansplaining

Everyone knows this term and finds it funny, but (especially in the workplace) it's not so funny and can be very demeaning and disempowering. 

I will never forget when the head of Engineering got up to a whiteboard to explain to me (the head of HR with 20+ years of experience) how the recruiting process should work. The lack of respect for my role and expertise had me gobsmacked.

📣 "He-peating" (when a man repeats what a woman said)

I often experienced situations in meetings when I expressed an opinion or idea only to be dismissed or interrupted by a male colleague. But what drove me crazy was when a male colleague repeated something I had said moments earlier, only to be met with kudos for such a phenomenal idea. One instance that stood out was when my boss pulled aside the CFO to point out that he had done just that with me. Knowing she had my back and was willing to call out this behavior made all the difference.

While these may seem like small examples, each had a corrosive effect on creating an inclusive environment for me as a woman in the workplace. I hope as awareness increases behavior will change. It is up to all of us to inspire inclusion!

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