The energy, enthusiasm, and enormous attendance of Saturday’s Women’s Marches all over the world is downright invigorating. Now, as political activists are asking women to carry that energy forward in the political realm, its worth thinking about how we can also translate it into the workplace.
We have yet to learn what ultimate impact the march will have, but I think it’s fair to say that it was a successful and effective event. And some of the same tactics that worked for the protestors can be equally effective at the office. Here are five to try this week:
1. Ask for a raise. Now.
In the U.S., women still make on average 78 cents on the dollar compared to men—and the statistic is far worse for women of color. While this gap has many causes, there are some you can control: Ask for more.
As Sallie Krawcheck recounts in her new book Own It, “in all the years that I have managed people, the men almost always told me how much money they wanted to make every year…The women never did.”
If Saturday’s march teaches us anything, it’s that when we ask for things assertively and in unison, we become impossible to ignore. So this week, the first and most immediate thing you can do to advance women yourself—and, in a sense, all women—is ask for a pay bump. Imagine the power if women all over America start asking their bosses for raises with the same loud collective voice we heard at the march.
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2. Make yourself visible
Similarly, the protests revealed the impact of making yourself seen—and impossible to ignore. After all it, it was the mass of marching women that launched those photos onto the front page of most news outlets.
So this week at work, focus on making yourself visible. Pick three senior executives in your company, and reach out. Ask each one for 15 minutes of time to talk for career advice. There is a high likelihood at least some of them will accept, and that you’ll be glad you did it. Just be sure give your manager a heads up so he or she is not surprised when she finds out you met with her boss. That said, it’s fine to do it after the fact. Better to ask forgiveness than permission.
In the meetings, be upfront about what you hope to achieve and highlight some of your biggest contributions thus far. The more senior-level people who know about you and where you want to go, the more likely it is that you’ll considered for new opportunities and promotions. And the harder the company will work to keep you.
3. Include men as your allies
One of the incredible strengths of the Women’s March was the participation of men who supported their wives, daughters, sisters, and friends. Most men you’ll encounter are highly supportive of women’s careers. But often, men simply don’t see the obstacles or limitations women face.
So take some time to engage the men you work with. Go get coffee or a drink. Help them join the team, and see where there may be opportunities to make improvements in your workplace.
4. Challenge the status quo
The marchers didn’t simply accept things as they are—and neither should you. My partner and I founded Fairygodboss, a career community for women, with the idea that if women are more transparent about their job experiences, they can help make workplaces more equitable.
So, be honest and genuine about your experience and share it. You can speak up directly to your boss or co-workers, take to social media, or review your experience anonymously on sites like Fairygodboss.
5. Support other women
When we’ve conducted interviews with Fairygodboss members, we hear constantly how isolated they feel as women in the workplace. And one of the reasons the march touched so many women deeply was the sisterhood and unity it represented. If you do nothing else at work today, take a few minutes to support the women around you. That means women at your level, women who are junior to you, the security guard at the door, and yes, even women who are more senior to you.
Come together and talk about your career and your personal life. Thank each other for the work you’re all doing to advance women in your workplace, in America, and in the world. Compliment each other, or share constructive criticism. At work, as in politics, the only way to advance gender equality is for women to get behind one another.
Romy Newman is co-founder of Fairygodboss, a job and career community for women.