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This past year, we’ve learned a lot about women and their experiences in the workplace. By providing a space for women to anonymously share their opinions and advice on where they work, we’ve amassed a tremendous amount of unique, proprietary data, which we plan to summarize each year in an annual report.

After hearing from hundreds of thousands of women about what their jobs are like and whether their employers provide welcoming environments for women, we’ve compiled our 2016 inaugural report, which features 50+ pages of data and content from women in our community, as well as third-party research that has been published during the year from other reputable research organizations.  

In case you’re in a time crunch, we’ve summarized key findings from the report, which concludes that employers can focus on improving in these 9 areas:

1) Broadcasting Benefits, Culture and Policies

Female job-seekers report that they have a hard time understanding what employers’ culture, practices and benefits rae. Yet these potential recruits care a great deal about women’s opinions about working at a given company and make job application decisions based on them.

2) Examining Pay Practices

Women in the workplace are very aware of and concerned about compensation inequality and how their pay stacks up against their male peers'. Even if you cannot commit to a full-fledged pay audit, you should set practices into place that encourage consistent pay across job titles. As a result you will improve your ability to attract top talent, increase job satisfaction and drive retention of female employees.

3) Prioritizing Gender Diversity, Particularly within Management

Fairygodboss data proves - perhaps unsurprisingly - that there is a clear correlation between women's job satisfaction and gender equality at their company. We’ve also found a correlation between women's job satisfaction and diverse management teams. In other words, diverse management ranks are essential to driving gender equality throughout the organization.

So take some time to consider whether your management team composition reflects your culture and priorities. Bottom line: investments in diversity initiatives and programs are truly worthwhile because they result in higher job satisfaction and therefore attraction and retention of women.

4) Ensuring Women are Promoted Equally to Men

According to Fairygodboss members, unequal promotion is the top area in which they observe gender inequity in their organizations. Unequal access to sponsors, unfair evaluation, and boys' club mentality are some of the reasons women provide for this concern. To improve your company's practices, take a look at your promotion and succession planning processes and pursue mechanisms to remedy this persistent cycle.

5) Improving Maternity and Parental Leave Policies

Women with young children have the lowest labor force participation rates. To increase the likelihood that mid-level women return and stay with your company after maternity leave, consider improving your benefits. Make sure you understand how your company's leave policies compare to competitors. A top-tier leave program serves as a strong stake in the ground about your company's commitment to women and families.

6) Formalizing Work-Life Balance and Flexibility Practices

Women report that many employers are family-friendly in terms of the hours they work, yet many remain disappointed about official policies. The degree to which work-life balance exists for a given employee most often comes down to the individual manager. Flexibility, which is a prized feature of any job, is rarely consistently or formally supported. A well-articulated flexibility policy can be a real asset to employers looking to recruit the best talent.

7) Encouraging Mentorship and Sponsorship for Women

Women consistently report less access to senior leadership. Consider formal programs or other options to build an infrastructure to support, mentor and sponsor women at your company.

8) Leading the Way with Bold Steps to Support Women

Companies are making real change by demanding greater diversity from their vendors, performing compensation audits and proving out the business case for on-site daycare. Your leadership stance on gender diversity issues can make a difference -- not just to your own employees, but to women everywhere.

9) Engaging Men in the Conversation

Although most men support gender diversity in the workplace, they are often unaware of bias or discrimination when it takes place. More direct and honest conversations between men and their female peers and direct reports can lead to greater sensitivity and more effective partnership.

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