Let's Make 2019 a Better Year for Women in the Workplace


Each time December rolls around, I encourage you to think about what you want to leave behind from the current year and take forward into the next.

This year, I'd like to see us all take more knowledge into 2019 to proactively address the underrepresentation of women in the workplace, especially in top leadership. And that starts with arming yourself with important facts.

The Women in the Workplace 2018 study, conducted by McKinsey & Company in partnership with LeanIn.org, makes the challenges that lie ahead for women clear. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Women are less likely to either be hired into manager-level jobs or to be promoted into them, which throttles the pipeline of talented women leaders.

  • Almost two-thirds of women say they've experienced microaggressions at work. If you're unfamiliar with the term microaggression, it means "a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group."

  • Some of the most common microaggressions that women experience include having to provide more evidence of their competence than men do, having their judgment questioned in their area of expertise and being mistaken for someone in a more junior position.

  • Thirty-five percent of women said they've experienced sexual harassment in corporate America.

  • Less than a third of women think their companies quickly address disrespectful behavior toward women.

  • About 20 percent of women said they are often the only, or one of the only, women in the room. Being an "Only" is even more common among women in senior leadership.

  • "Onlys" have a worse experience at work and are 1.5 times more likely to consider leaving their job.

  • About one-fifth of women said their company's commitment to gender diversity "feels like lip service."

So, what are some small steps you can take that will make a big difference? Read and share the report with others, notice and help others notice what’s happening in your own workplace, and seek to understand by asking more questions. You can make a difference by how you show up and engage with others. In 2019, I'll be sharing some practical strategies for addressing some of the points in this study. In the meantime, leverage Newberry Executive Solutions' corporate programs, executive coaching and publications to support your own success and the success of other women leaders at your company.