The One Thing You Can Do To Be a Great Supporter of Women at Work
I do photography as a hobby, have for many years. People are my favorite subject and I've been lucky enough to study and do photography all over the world. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a photography teacher was, "When you think you see everything in the frame, take a big step closer."
When photographing people it can feel invasive to get too close. But this was sage advice because I saw and connected so much more with my subjects when I stepped closer. So I started getting a lot closer. And talking with the people I was photographing, finding a way to communicate even if we didn't speak the same language. And sharing my pictures with them. Even letting them take pictures of me with them. Those are the best and most memorable photographs I have.
I feel this is a great metaphor for understanding what women are up against at work and how we need to be supported. It doesn't have to be a lengthy intellectual exercise. Many times it is just a matter of seeing differently. Questioning your assumptions, challenging prior thinking, making sure the ways of working that have been in place before are working for the person in front of you right now.
So my best advice to anyone who wants to provide great support to women at work is to step closer. Ask us what is working, what isn't, how it could be better. Listen. Be thoughtful. And then partner with us to make it better.