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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Willey

Fearless in 5: How to Inspire Inclusion--In Yourself and Others



The latest Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) report shows 90% of people worldwide still have biases against women–there’s been no progress in a decade. More than 40% believe men make better business executives than women. This is why the 2024 IWD theme of Inspire Inclusion is so important.  In this week’s Fearless in 5, we’ll share 5 ways you can cultivate a safe, supportive and equal workplace where everyone is valued:


  • Understand Value Bias: Do you know what types of biases you have?  They are generally instilled in us from childhood, through our parents, teachers and friends. They may lead you to value men’s actions at work more than women’s. New research shows that even when managers become aware of their previously unconscious biases, they may still reward men’s behaviors more favorably than women. Create objective metrics and use rubrics when evaluating your team to mitigate value bias.

  • Minimize Microaggressions: These subtle, often unintentional actions can add up to make women look or feel inferior.  Whether it’s assigning administrative responsibilities to women, ignoring or interrupting your female colleague’s contributions, leaving them out of networking or social gatherings or using terms like girls or sweetheart, it’s time to stop these bad behaviors.

  • Maximize Microvalidations: These affirmative actions recognize, appreciate, and validate others, building their confidence and the value of their contributions.  So pay attention to what your female colleagues have to say in meetings… and solicit their ideas and opinions. Proactively nod in agreement if you feel that way. Give credit where it’s due.

  • Celebrate Women's Achievements…including your own! Women typically hate self-promotion, preferring for their work to be recognized without them shouting their successes from the rooftop.  But that’s just not realistic in today’s world. Managers are pulled in too many directions and squeaky wheels still get the grease. Share the positive impact you are making, so you can reap the rewards of your hard work and it won’t go unnoticed. Set a goal to share at least one ‘achievement’ each week with your manager… and sing the praises of other women when it’s deserved!

  • Embrace Imperfections: When everything doesn’t go ‘perfectly,’ don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, examine what could be improved next time around and learn from it. Play the role of head coach of Team U and ‘study the tapes’ after every big meeting, presentation, or promotion request. Don’t wait to ‘perfect’ that idea before speaking up—share early and often and then ask for others to weigh in. 


Every one of us can be a catalyst for change and cultivate a more inclusive culture at work.  Start planning now for IWD on March 8th. Show your support by posting your ‘Inspire Inclusion’ pic on social media.


For more on this year’s theme and helpful resources, check out https://www.internationalwomensday.com.


And if you need outside expertise, Wet Cement’s key notes, workshops and advisory services make it easy for your company or Women’s Employee Resource Group to plan an impactful and inspiring event. Learn more at wet-cement.com.

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