receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure

See if your business is eligible for a tax credit of up to $26K per employee!

Call Now: 877-561-8522

6 Ways You’re Failing the Women in Your Company

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley

If you want to retain your female workers long term, here's how you can support them.

We’ve experienced decades of progress toward gender equality yet, according to job hunting site Adzuna, 96 percent of United States companies are still failing to support women in the workplace. What has female employees so unhappy?

Some answers may lie in a worker satisfaction study conducted by We found that the reasons people look for new jobs include dissatisfaction with pay, lack of career development opportunities and issues with company culture or work environment. While none of those are gender-specific problems on the surface, our research indicates female workers are more dissatisfied than their male counterparts.

That makes sense when you consider women are more likely to suffer from the gender pay gap, unfair stereotypes and biases and the stress of balancing professional and family obligations. Below are several ways companies may be failing the women who work for them — and how you can instead offer support and resources.

1. Gender pay gap

It’s a tale as old as time: Women are paid less than men. Female workers continue to earn less than males for doing the same job, even when they have the same level of education and experience. On Equal Pay Day in 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that women “are paid an average of 83.7 percent as much as men, which amounts to a difference of $10,000 per year.” This is for women in the U.S. who work full-time, year-round. The pay gap is even greater for many other minorities, such as women of color and women with disabilities. 

The consequences of the gender pay gap are significant, affecting women’s financial security, career advancement opportunities and overall well-being. Companies that underpay their female employees are doing a disservice to those workers and to themselves. As’s study showed, frustration with pay can lead people to quit, which means organizations may watch some of their top female talent walk out the door.

How to provide support

Every organization should work to combat the gender pay gap by implementing salary assessments and balanced compensation packages. For example, you can start by conducting a pay audit to identify any gender-driven pay disparities in your organization. From there, you can establish fair and transparent pay policies, provide equal opportunities for career advancement and work to eliminate biases in hiring and promotions.

2. Stereotypes and biases

Speaking of biases, women may face discrimination and stereotyping in the workplace, which can limit their opportunities for career growth and advancement. Some common stereotypes and biases against women in the workplace include the following:

  • The maternal bias is the assumption that women are less committed to their careers because of family obligations. As a result, they are perceived as less competent or less dedicated to their work than men.
  • The likability bias is the assumption that women should be warm and nurturing. As a result, women are penalized for being too assertive or ambitious, while men are rewarded for the same behavior.
  • The gender role bias is the assumption that women should be caregivers and men should be providers. As a result, women are expected to take on supporting roles as opposed to leadership roles.
  • The affinity bias is the assumption that people are more likely to promote or hire people who are similar to themselves. As a result, men may be more likely to promote or hire other men and women may be excluded from these opportunities.

Organizations guilty of these biases limit the potential of their female workers, who are every bit as capable of excelling as their male colleagues. Women who regularly feel disadvantaged in your workplace simply because of their gender may seek more supportive cultures elsewhere.

How to provide support

While you may not intentionally act biased, it’s important to understand that everyone experiences some level of unconscious bias against certain groups. You may not realize the subconscious beliefs that are informing your workplace decisions and having very real impacts on the women in your company. Educate yourself and the people in your organization on common biases and how to avoid them.

>> Read next: The Hidden Ways Gender Bias Can Sabotage Recruitment

Did You Know?

Even though women are sometimes unfairly assumed to be less committed to their careers than men, the numbers don’t support this belief. For example, a Tork survey found that women are more than twice as likely as men to skip their break at work.

3. Sexual harassment and discrimination

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace, that doesn’t mean sexual harassment or assault at work doesn’t happen. Nearly three-quarters of women have experienced or witnessed inappropriate behavior at work, according to a Randstad study.

Unwanted sexual advances, comments or behavior in the workplace can create a hostile work environment and negatively impact women in multiple ways. Some female workers in companies where harassment and discrimination are tolerated see career advancement negatively impacted and some resort to quitting because of unresolved harassment issues.

How to provide support

Your business is legally obligated to ensure a safe and harassment-free workplace for all employees, so be sure to brush up on antidiscrimination laws and educate your staff on how to behave. Annual sexual harassment prevention training should be required of every employee. You should also mandate this training as part of the onboarding process for every new hire.

4. Career development and leadership opportunities

Women make up more than half of the workforce (57 percent), but their leadership representation isn’t nearly as comparable. In 2022,’s look at diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the U.S. found that the average share of women in leadership roles was just 30 percent, with certain industries like technology (28 percent), transportation (26 percent) and real estate (24 percent) falling even lower. 

While some sectors are more male-dominated to begin with, women in all fields tend to face career advancement limitations. Many companies still have predominantly male leadership teams, which can create a culture that is less supportive of female career growth and advancement — in part due to the affinity bias mentioned above. Without providing career development opportunities for your female employees, you all but ensure only the men will be qualified to receive promotions.

How to provide support

To combat any biases and give females a fair chance at leadership roles, it’s vital to support them in every way possible. You can create coaching programs, female leadership programs, mentorships and female-focused leadership conferences. If you want to recruit more women to your workforce in the first place, consider creating an apprenticeship program. This can help with workplace DEI initiatives.


Studies have shown a confidence gap between men and women in the workplace. Women tend to be less confident than men, even when they’re equally qualified and competent. This can create a barrier to career advancement.

5. Work-life balance

Women often face challenges in balancing work with caregiving responsibilities, such as raising children or caring for elderly relatives, which can hamper their ability to advance in their careers. Organizations that ignore the challenges working mothers face put their female team members in tricky positions where they’re sometimes forced to choose between fulfilling professional or personal tasks. What’s more, working full-time and tending to a family can quickly lead to burnout.  

How to provide support

One way you can help all your workers, not just the women on your staff, maintain a healthy work-life balance is to offer comprehensive employee benefits. For example, you can allow flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and flextime scheduling. Some companies offer day care reimbursement and others take it one step further by providing on-site child care. Benefits like parental leave can also help growing families adjust to new family responsibilities without work making things more complicated.

6. Health and well-being

In addition to work-life balance issues, it’s essential that you keep in mind other ways the physical and mental health and well-being of your female team members may be affected in and outside the workplace. For example, fertility struggles can be a major source of stress and anxiety for women. 

Research has also indicated a link between menstruation and decreased productivity at work. As women enter menopause, that work interference is far from over. According to the Biote 2022 Women in the Workplace Survey, 40 percent of women said menopause interfered with their work performance at least weekly. Companies blind to these realities may overwhelm their struggling female workers who are trying to keep up with their work responsibilities while dealing with health issues.

How to provide support

Companies can support women’s health through benefits like menstrual leave and menopause support. Additionally, providing fertility benefits can help alleviate some of that burden, along with therapy or counseling. Employee resource groups (ERGs) for women can also foster a supportive community for women in the workplace.

If you ever find yourself wondering how you can better support the women in your workplace (and you should), it never hurts to survey them. However, if you do survey employees, it’s crucial that you act on the results instead of letting their concerns go unaddressed. The last thing you want to do is further alienate your staff, female or otherwise.

Image Credit: Ridofranz / Getty Images
Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff Writer
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.