One of the most important things feminists can do is pave the way for other feminists. I try to do that every day at work. Here are the six things every feminist boss should do:
Put resumes of women and non-Anglo names at the top of the pile
It’s a fact that bias hurts women, PoC, and people with non-Anglo names, during the hiring process. You’d like to think you don’t have the same bias, but you probably do. Put the resumes of women and any non-Anglo name at the top of the pile. Review it once, then review it again. You don’t have to hire someone if their qualifications aren’t in order, but make sure you’re not throwing them out before giving it an honest shot.
Offer flexible schedules
We know women are more likely to take care of children and aging parents, which makes scheduling a nightmare in a lot of situations. Work to offer flexible scheduling whenever possible, and offer it to anyone on your staff with a serious need (men, women, and everyone in between).
Pay a living wage
Sometimes you don’t control the pay band in a position, but if you have any pull (and you probably do if you’re doing the hiring), make sure you’re paying a living wage. If your company isn’t paying a living wage, petition the boss to make the change. Offer ways to trim the fat that can funnel cash into the hands of workers.
Take volunteer experience seriously
Most volunteer positions require an application, an interview, continual review, and they result in terminations and promotions. It’s real work, and it actually has a numeric value. In the State of Utah volunteer work is valued at $22.65. You should take that commitment just as serious as you would a paid job.
Treat resume “gaps” from time with kids as a serious endeavor
If someone says they “didn’t work” while taking care of their kids, correct them. Let them know that you see it as valuable. Ask questions the same way you would about previous jobs. “Tell me about a time when you had to manage conflicting deadlines with your children’s schedules,” is the same as asking someone to tell you about a time when they managed conflicting editing and speaking deadlines. It’s work. Start treating it that way.
Let people know how progressive you are (AKA: let your feminist flag fly)
I’ve listened to coming-out stories, helped direct an employee to abortion services, and talked openly with several employees about their mental healthcare and its affect on their day-to-day functions. All of those employees felt comfortable coming to me because they hear about my values. I let new hires know that I operate with a feminist multicultural lens. We collaborate at every possible turn, and I always ask for their feedback. I embody my ideals every day, and I do it publicly, which means I get the chance to help people in my office at the times they need it the most. Real life doesn’t stop when you walk into work, but ignoring life can cause you to stop working, so start having open dialogue with your team to make the whole business run smoothly.