Our world is changing, slowly but surely. Women are making more money, are better educated, and are more highly respected than perhaps any other time in history. Though these facts all mark great progress, we have a way to go. There are a few vital reasons why.
Perhaps most important to mention is that we're still battling the insidious discrimination that existed so much more strongly for our mothers and theirs before them. We don't speak up when we should. We apologize too much and demand too little. Though we really shouldn't be held responsible for the existing culture, anyone would be hard-pressed to claim that women aren't forced to compensate simply for being women in the work place.
It's not only discrimination; we're faced with more explicit issues like sexual harassment and victimization while combating ageism, slut-shaming, and racism; we do this all with a cute smile, providing excuses for everyone else's mistakes while being entirely too hard on ourselves. Just no.
Now, no one's got anything against men. It's the kind of people in general who take advantage of their situations and others that's the problem; women are surely guilty of this as well. But when men, by and large, remain the CEOs, founders and presidents of the world while women who are both smarter and better educated remain mid-level, there's not much to argue: it's just that blatant a sign that there are other factors involved.
Until things change, here are five things all women should look for (if not absolutely demand) in a position.
1. A workplace where no kind of discrimination (even subtle) is existent.
This means no favoritism, no preference, no biased tendencies and a lot of open discussion. You deserve a culture in which you have just as many opportunities as the person beside you and in which you feel a vast ability to thrive, create and exceed your potential.
2. Company culture that pushes integrity over money-making.
In truth this should go without saying, but it's a characteristic in the practice of business that's few and far between. Listen to your gut, and be aware of what's happening around you. As business advisor and Huffington Post blogger Jeffrey Cohn writes, "Remove integrity and the whole house of cards will eventually come tumbling down no matter how smart, empathetic and emotionally aware a leader may be. In that sense, integrity is the single most important leadership quality."
3. Steady flow of communication, without blame.
If your company's dynamic is based on placing blame so that you don't take the heat or thrives on poor communication, you are in the wrong place. A company shouldn't feel competitive with any entity but its actual competitors.
4. Transparent, honest and secure co-workers.
There are many factors that contribute to the ideal work environment; the most important of these is that your coworkers are supportive, happy, and secure enough in their jobs to remain positive influences.
5. Fair practice and widespread, overflowing appreciation.
Most vital is that you don't forget you have basic rights within a company; to have pay commensurate with the duties you're performing, to be given frequent and honest updates on how superiors view your progress and work quality, and to feel appreciated.
Images: Getty (1)