March 31, 2022

Challenges We’ve Faced As Women In The Workplace (And How To Avoid Them)

Everyone faces a workplace challenge at some point in their career. It may stem from a colleague, client, boss or someone else you work with.

Women often face additional challenges that men do not, which can stem from other’s misconceptions and poor communication practices. Despite the huge strides made in the past several decades up to present, most female professionals today have experienced some kind of gender-fueled mistreatment at work. It’s not always overt; many times, those involved (including other women) don’t notice how their words and actions impact female colleagues.

Point Road Group helps clients navigate communications and workplace challenges to drive business success -- and in doing so, we’ve seen and heard a lot. As a woman-owned and women-led company, we’ve also experienced a lot ourselves.

With a personal understanding of these unique challenges, our team is particularly proud to celebrate and support women in the workplace.

In hope of breaking down communication barriers and shining light on some of the challenges women still face in the workplace, those of us at PRG have been reflecting on some eyebrow-raising moments from our collective past experiences. While we’ve selected some to share in a fun comic format below, we acknowledge that they’re serious issues. We want to raise awareness and offer perspective on how to help work toward more inclusive, supportive work environments for all.

1. Making Jokes But Lacking Empathy

Point Road Group - Women's Workplace Challenge Story 1

Injecting some humor into the workplace, even some gentle ribbing of coworkers, can help build camaraderie and morale. However, it’s not okay to joke at others’ expense or about their experience when you have no idea what it’s like to be them, what they’re going through or how they feel about it.

2. Talking Over Others

Point Road Group - Women's Workplace Challenges Story 2

Actively listen to team members when they’re speaking and let them fully complete their thoughts. If you jump in too early, either because you strongly agree or disagree, or because you’re just thinking about your reply, you weren’t listening well in the first place. This is not only disrespectful and rude, it can mean you miss out on valuable information. People want to be seen and heard, and if you don’t give them that opportunity, especially in front of others, they will feel discouraged and may disengage.

3. Assuming Instead Of Asking

Point Road Group - Women's Workplace Challenges Story 3

No one should assume what a woman wants; they should ask. This is especially important from one woman to another. While certain shared experiences can unite women, each person has their own unique values, interests, personal obligations, goals and cultural norms that influence what they want. Moreover, if you’re in a position of power and aren’t connecting well with a direct report, seek out guidance on how to communicate more effectively and empathically.

4. Overt Favoritism

Point Road Group - Women's Workplace Challenges Story 4

Performance/merit-driven perks should be available to all team members, not just a subset. If one person regularly makes minimal effort and is rewarded, while others work tirelessly and get passed over, it creates an environment of resentment and frustration. Develop a transparent and fair reward structure with mass team appeal and don’t assume what perks women may (or may not) be interested in.

Communication, or lack thereof, is often at the root of workplace challenges. Taking a step back and considering what you say, who you’re communicating with and how it may be received, is critical. Lack of attention to this can create negative environments that reduce productivity, increase resentment and employee turnover. As Women's History Month comes to a close, we reflect on the past to make positive change as we move forward into the future.

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