Invite women to the meeting. Do not avoid having women in the meeting because "it changes the tone." The tone needs to be changed. The more female leaders there are, the more supported both junior and senior women feel. Understand the innate (organized or structured in advance of experience) female preference for collaboration. Make sure meetings are broken into unranked smaller discussions.
Listen, don't talk. Make sure every woman in the room speaks before you speak. If you are in charge, make sure no man speaks before every woman speaks. Men talk more in business meetings than women do. Men are allowed (and encouraged) to speak conversationally in meetings. Women are more formal and prepared, because they have to be. Stop interrupters, because women are interrupted twice as often as men in business meetings. And they are interrupted by both men and women.
Make sure women get credit for their ideas. Women are less likely to have their ideas correctly attributed to them. In 1967, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered the first pulsar, but it was her boss who won the Nobel Prize for it. It was only this year that she finally won the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for her achievement. It included a three million dollar prize, which she fully devoted to minority students for scholarships in astrophysics.
Recognize that women are more effective than men in a number of areas:
- More collaborative
- More inclusive
- Less likely to take unnecessary risks
- Excellent at multi-tasking
- Have a higher emotional quotient than men
Don't reinforce stereotypes about women's emotionality. There is no evidence that women are more emotional than men. The primary emotion shown at work by men is anger. Anger is more accepted for men than it is for women.
Five Things Men Can Do To Increase Gender EquityPaula S. Williams