How can you support Women in the workplace?

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06 Mar 2024

How can you support Women in the workplace?

Women in Ireland, just like elsewhere, face distinct obstacles. Especially when it comes to setting up and being part of businesses and getting involved in entrepreneurship. Along with the same challenges men experience, there are unique hurdles to jump.

Lack of access to funding, accessing networking opportunities, difficulty balancing business and family responsibilities and overcoming gender biases. These all figure highly as impediments to success. On top of this, a lack of female role models in some sectors can also make it difficult. For those aspiring entrepreneurs to clearly see how to progress.

This is just one of the many reasons International Women’s Day on March 8th each year is such an important event. But increasingly there are also supports in place specifically to help women make a go of a business career. From mentorship programs to financial incentives and more.

Supports available

Initiatives such as Enterprise Ireland's Female Entrepreneurship programmes and organisations like Network Ireland and LEAD Ireland all provide support. They also provide funding and networking opportunities tailored to women.

Education and awareness campaigns such as those offered by these organisations are vital. As they highlight successful female entrepreneurs and providing practical guides on starting a business. This demystifies the entrepreneurial path and shows that it is attainable for women from all walks of life.

Family friendly workplaces

One turning point for many women in the workforce is the decision to start a family. Historically, taking maternity leave has been viewed as a career setback. However, attitudes are shifting on this. Irish businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of supporting women through maternity leave and beyond.

Knowing your career won’t suffer if you step away from work to have a family. Or that it will be possible to return to the workplace at the same level you left is hugely psychologically important. So it’s encouraging to see that policies such as flexible working hours, remote work options and phased return-to-work programs are becoming more common.

These not only help retain talented women but also make it easier for mothers to balance their professional and personal lives. Encouraging them to pursue entrepreneurial ventures without fear of sacrificing career progress.

Female leadership

It’s often said, ‘if you don’t see it, you can’t be it’. This is particularly true when it comes to entrepreneurship. Leadership development programs, mentorship schemes with female leaders and transparent promotion processes are all examples of initiatives that can help foster more inclusive business cultures. This is to make female leaders more visible.

With this in mind, many businesses are setting diversity targets. This will help ensure that women are well-represented in decision-making positions. This not only benefits women, but enriches the business ecosystem with diverse perspectives. Leading to better decision-making and innovation.

Flexible work-life balance

Flexibility in the workplace is a critical factor in encouraging more women to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Recognising the diverse roles women play, businesses are adopting more flexible working practices. This flexibility allows women to manage their businesses. While attending to personal responsibilities, making entrepreneurship a more attractive and feasible option.

Government policies supporting work-life balance and businesses that champion flexible work cultures are instrumental in this shift. Making it easier for women to envision and realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

The journey towards gender equality in entrepreneurship in Ireland is ongoing. But progress is being made. By addressing the unique challenges faced by female entrepreneurs, providing targeted support and fostering a flexible and inclusive business culture. We can encourage more women to embark on entrepreneurial ventures.

The success of these efforts will not only benefit women. It will also contribute to the richness, diversity and competitiveness of the Irish business landscape. It is crucial to continue the dialogue. Share success stories and push for policies that support women in business. Ensuring that entrepreneurship is accessible and rewarding for everyone.

If you would like to discuss your business, recruitment tools or digital solutions with an expert, book a free one-to-one call with one of our V-Hub advisors now.

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