Ever wanted tools to advocate for equality in your workplace? Ever wondered how to stand up for yourself in your professional role?

Women make up 50.8% of the US population, we earn 57% of all undergraduate degrees, and 59% of all master’s degrees. And yet, only 6% of fortune 500 CEOs are women. Not only that, but we still get paid significantly less than men.

And yet, even though women are dramatically underrepresented in the workplace, when teams include women, they actually perform up to 95% better. Research even shows that women make more effective leaders than men.

While major progress has been made, workplace inequality is still a tangible factor for many women professionals.

Have you:

● Ever realized a male colleague was making a higher salary than you, for the same caliber and quantity of work?

● Had your ideas dismissed, only to have them praised after your male colleague repeats those same ideas?

● Been interrupted by a male colleague while you’re interacting with co-workers, presenting, or speaking during a meeting?

If any of these sounds familiar, you’re not alone. “There is not a woman in any industry or profession, who is not acutely sensitive to her environment,” says Audrey Nelson, a corporate communications expert.

So, in a world where women are incredibly valuable, and yet still undervalued, how can we be empowered, advocate for ourselves, and pave the way for other women?

Let’s take a look…

Be Yourself
Remember, women have been found to make better leadership decisions than men, decisions that are, “strongly correlated to organization success factors such as retaining talent, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and profitability,” says Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy. You don’t have to develop male qualities, or pretend to be someone else in order to be effective. Be confident knowing you already have what it takes.

Actively Bring More Women On Board
Take tangible steps to diversify your team. Referrals are real tools to get people hired, so recommend women for open positions at your company. Additionally, consider asking hiring managers these five questions to gauge whether they are truly invested in diversity. And of course, if you’re a hiring manager yourself, ask for diverse referrals from your colleagues and team members.

Speak Up, Speak Out, and Speak Boldly
Research shows that women get interrupted more frequently than men. Stand your ground. If someone cuts you off, rapidly regain attention, and boldly reintroduce your idea and finish your thoughts and comments. If a colleague brings up the same point – as if it’s a new idea – acknowledge that it was your suggestion by thanking your colleague for circling back to you. These situations can feel stressful. Remember to breathe.

Connect for Confidence
“… talking to other women – especially those who may have been in your shoes previously – can help validate your own experiences and feelings,” says an article in Her Money, “knowing that you’re not alone in your frustrations can make you feel less stressed. Remember that wanting to be comfortable in your workspace is not a feminine desire – it’s a human one.” Most importantly, surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your potential, and remember that you deserve all the professional success you achieve.

Workplace Equality Starts With You.
Advocating for equality and standing up for yourself in the workplace can be challenging, frustrating, and at times, scary.

And yet, being an advocate for yourself and other women professionals has never been so important. Workplace equality start with each of us, and every step you take has a major impact.

How to Stand Up for Yourself & Advocate for Equality in Your Workplace