20 Things That Offices Could Do To Make Their Workplace More Female-Friendly

Published 1 year ago

As we celebrate International women’s day, we take a look at the many ways in which women have gained mileage in our mission for equality. While we’ve come a long way in terms of gender disparity, we still have a ways to go to make sure that women are represented adequately in all aspects. There are so many subtle inequalities that women have grown used to over the years which we just tend to accept as normal while some men have grown so used to these things just being this way that they barely even notice it, let alone think about it. 

That’s why the conversation needs to go on. As more and more women enter the job market every day, there need to be more allowances made for the differences between the two genders. Women are just as dedicated to their work and deserve to be comfortable too and have their needs at the very least acknowledged. This is probably why a Reddit thread related to the discussion went viral with tons of women weighing in to share their frank opinions on the little things that corporates could easily do to make the workplace seem less hostile to women.

More info: Reddit

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Image source: Sirendimensions, Dana Tentis

Please no required heels!


Image source: searedscallops, MART PRODUCTION

Pumping room with a soft, comfortable chair, and easily accessible electrical outlets.

Better yet, onsite childcare who will bring your baby to you a few times a day to breastfeed.


Image source: lilacpointsiamese, Hubert Figuière

This is dumb as hell but my office’s stairs are see-thru because I’m in billing for EnGiNeEriNg, so folks wearing dresses to go upstairs have to be clever about how they do it.


Image source: Alternative-Water-50, Yan Krukau

Eliminate sexist jokes from the workplace. Stop saying periods are disgusting and inappropriate when you’re a 35 year old male supervisor.


Image source: peppermind, Anastasia Shuraeva

My workplace is pretty good for this. Putting aside physical workplace issues, flexibility around childcare issues are a big thing. If a school age kid gets sick, allowing a parent to work from home so they can stay with them and other things like that help so much.


Image source: EyoneGa, Darina Belonogova

Bigger toilets for women: normally in workplaces both toilets occupy an equal area. The thing is that women need more time on the toilet, as we have to deal with periods etc. Also, we can only use a WC, so, if we have the same space as in a men’s toilet, inevitably less WCs are going to fit in the room. Probably it’s sounds silly, so let me put a personal example: when I was in College, after some classes, it was very common for the women to take longer to get to the next class than men, as we almost always have to wait to use the toilet.

Also tampons etc in toilets, as someone commented, are a great idea.

And another silly idea: adapting spaces thinking on the different heights between men and women, in my job I’m the only one who needs a stool to reach certain tools, and some times I even need to ask for help. Now that I think about it, I need also a footrest in my desk due to the height of the table, as my feet don’t touch the ground even in high heels lol

Also is fundamental to have a clear politic about sexual harassment, but that’s another story.


Image source: typeyhands, Allan Mas

Making things that actually fit.

I work construction. We’re given protective gear and most of it is too big for the women on site, and all the while they tell you that wearing baggy clothing is dangerous. We’re all given rain gear and they have sizes up to 4xl but they don’t buy smalls, so mine doesn’t fit. They don’t order small gloves. They don’t order small harnesses. They gave us all congratulatory jackets for reaching a particular milestone. Mine is too big.

It seems small but it turns into a nagging reminder that you don’t belong and that “this place isn’t made for you”

Just making sure that you have access to the right equipment goes miles and i think people will do a better job when they feel heard and respected. How can i expect to do a good job when my gloves don’t even fit properly?


Image source: Luwe95, Natracare

Easy access to a bathroom. Meaning no asking for a key or having to ask people before going to the bathroom. Also a trash can right next to the toilet and maybe some emergency period products


Image source: Doon672, Cristian Tarzi

More inclusive:

* flexibility of work hours/sick time (so that those with bad periods, monthly migraines, etc can adapt work schedules accordingly)

More hostile:

* discouragement of open and honest discussions about salary and/or hourly wages and bonuses


Image source: rf-elaine, Liliana Drew

Life outside the office is horrendously imbalanced for women. We do most of the housework and childcare.

My office is 100% work from home and 100% flexible hours. As long as you log all required hours within the pay period (2 weeks) and attend your client meetings you can work whenever you want.

The men are like, “neat” but the women are like, “thank you this makes a huge difference in my life.”


Image source: mjigs, Vlada Karpovich

Women in power putting down the rest of us and acting like snakes, this is not a competition, we dont want your place, we just want to get our coin without feeling the need to cry over a toxic environment other women create. We are in this together, its already hard to live in a mens world, why some women feel the need to make it harder.


Image source: recyclopath_, fauxels

Be actively inclusive of women in your space. I work in STEM and am often the only woman on the team. I am by default not included in informal social, team building things like grabbing lunch together, a drink after work etc. When someone doesn’t look like to rest of you, it’s important to actively include them.

It’s not enough to not be excluding of them, you need to actively be inclusive of them.


Image source: eiroai, Karolina Grabowska

– Bins for tampons and pads by the toilets. That preferably also are sound proofed and not right to someone’s office…

– I think most humans are unhappy in open offices. I know I would detest it.


Image source: mattpel1, Samson Katt

There’s been stories of women being fired from their office jobs for refusing to wear make up or heels to work, which obviously has no effect on how they work


Image source: dumhuvud, Sarah

My old job had a box of good-to-have stuff in ALL restrooms. They were unisex, so there was both tampons, pads, pantyliners, spray deodorant in two different fragrances (“male” and “female”), hairspray, dental floss sticks and such.

T’was a good thing.


Image source: TenNinetythree, Tima Miroshnichenko

I’m just going to be THAT PERSON: the best thing to make it inclusive is openness about and equality in regards with pay.


Image source: Carolinablue87, Sora Shimazaki

Make it easier for women to take sick time for reproductive health issues. I’ve dealt with fibroids for years now and it would’ve been nice if I felt comfortable enough on my worse days to take time off to rest.

Don’t assign a woman the social tasks of the office unless she volunteers to. Not every woman wants to keep track of birthdays, bridal showers and baby showers.


Image source: TenaciousToffee, Timur Weber

If someone is talking down to your coworkers/employees for being a woman, support them.

I had a customer insult my knowledge because I’m a woman. So my male coworker bartender went to serve them. He played dumb to the questions, asked me and repeated the answer I gave him which I said loud enough for the person to hear came from my mouth first.

That gained all my love and respect because most places are like you’re in customer service “deal with it”. Here the customer isn’t always right and they don’t get to treat people like punching bags.


Image source: alterega1, ebay.com

Well if the IT dept in the international company I work for, where every new employee has to go to get their laptop, could take down the calendars (plural) featuring naked women, that would be great (yea, i already filed a complaint, call me a stuck-up bi*ch)


Image source: thanarealnobody, Yan Krukau

It’s all the behaviour of men so I don’t know how to change that but the small things I would love to see go, are:

– being called “love” “sweetheart” or “darling” by my older male co-workers
– being touched on the waist in order to get my attention rather than tapping my shoulder or calling my name
– male bosses casually referring to their “b***h” ex wives and their “whore” ex girlfriends to the other men in the room while I have to pretend I’m not there
– when a department that has a female boss or a mostly female team is doing something and it’s “the girls are doing their thing” but every other department is “the team working hard”.
– all the older women in work being mocked and told they’re “getting too old for this job” by men that aren’t that much younger than them
– everything to do with cleaning and tidiness is left for female colleagues, even if it isn’t their job.
– male colleagues coming to ask for advice and emotional support and to listen to their problems but never returning that effort or offering a real friendship. Basically being their free therapist. And if you don’t want to listen, you’re a “cold b***h”.
– when a woman is hard to work with or bad at her job, there’s a smugness amongst the men because they see it as evidence that women aren’t up for the higher positioned jobs.
– when a woman gets promoted, I have to hear all the men have conversations about how she only got it because she’s a woman
– when I make complaints about co-worker harassing me, I’m told to “talk it out” with them, as if I’m the one making a problem.
– co-workers that are old enough to be my dad, staring at my chest non stop and everyone defending him because “he’s a laugh”.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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female-friendly workspaces, gender equality, hostile work environments for women, International Women's Day, women's equality
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