It’s 2020 and we need to get one thing in order: our workplaces need to be femme-friendly! Women already experience significant discrimination within corporate workforces, and the micro and macro aggressions created at work premises contribute to it.
Here are a few things you can do to change this.
Relax the Dress Code Guidelines
Dress codes often tend to be misogynistic, classist, ableist, and fatphobic. Men and women are subjected to very different standards of acceptable dress code, which tends to reinforce the gender binaries. This puts non-conforming femmes in a difficult position, making themunable to express their gender identities as they wish.
Image File Name: women-smiling-while-using-a-cellphone
Alt Text: female colleagues in a casual work setting
Moreover, even femmes who do adhere to the dress code are held at different standards. For instance, what may be considered as an acceptable clothing article on a skinny woman may be termed inappropriate for curvy women. This further makes the dress code an unnecessary tool of propagating unfriendliness within the workplace.
Acknowledge Emotional Labor
Have you ever noticed how femmes tend to take up certain responsibilities and roles that aren’t part of their jobs? Is there a particular colleague in your department who you direct new employees to so that she may take them under her wing because she has just the sort ofcaring personna you’re looking for? Or, do you rely on the femmes in your office to bring up concerns related to workplace hygiene or the overall aura?
Women are often burdened with the task of emotional labor, most of which goes uncompensated. Capitalistic workforces tend to overlook this kind of labor and how it helps in difficult situations, focusing only on work productivity and performances. The least you can do to make your workplace femme-friendly is to acknowledge and award the emotional labor done by the women in your organization.
Don’t Dismiss Emotions as Weaknesses
Femmes often get told that they’re feeling too emotional about an issue when they express a negative emotion such as anger or sadness. This has seeped into work spheres as well, where female employees and employers are unfairly accused of “letting their emotions get in the way” or being “too upset/angry over nothing”, all under the guise of them being overly emotional. In fact, expressing emotion at all is considered to be a “feminine” trait, and is often seen as a weakness.
Let’s get one thing straight: expressing emotions—either positive or negative—is not a sign of weakness. If anything, this should be seen asa strength. Normalize the idea of expressing your feelings and emotions at work. Instead of dismissing your female colleague’s supposed “outbursts”, see how they can openly and honestly talk about work-related issues without being told they’re too emotional. Recognize their ability to express emotions as a sign of showing empathy and awareness, and learn from it.
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