5 Ways Companies Can Create Better Workplaces for Women

Dr. Tanya Harrison
2 min readMar 8, 2023
A young Black woman in a black shirt and colorful skirt pointing at a computer screen while talking to a young Black man with glasses and headphones, wearing a blue shirt. They are in an office with other employees visible in the background.
Photo by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash

For International Women’s Day, I posted a call to action on Twitter for the space sector, since it’s the realm I inhabit:

In the replies, someone asked for ideas on how companies can take actions, which was fantastic to see. Here are five suggestions that can help not only women, but anyone from underrepresented groups, thrive in the workplace:

  1. Make sure your leadership teams are diverse, and that there are visible opportunities for career advancement for folks from underrepresented backgrounds. If all of your diversity is in the lower ranks, you still have a problem.
  2. Get rid of toxic personalities that drive underrepresented folks out. They will cause you to hemorrhage talent. No one is so “valuable” or “brilliant” that they deserve to be placed on a pedestal and enabled to drive other employees out. Who knows what those folks that were driven out could have achieved for your company?
  3. In the space sector, there are programs like the Zed Factor Fellowship, Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, and the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which work with companies to provide internship opportunities for students. Zed Factor focuses on students from any historically excluded backgrounds. Patti Grace Smith places Black students in their first aerospace internships. Brooke Owens is open to women and gender minorities. Does your industry have similar programs? If so, get involved with them. If not, maybe it’s time to get the right people together to create them!
  4. If you have people from underrepresented groups within your company telling you there are issues, whatever they might be, listen to them—don’t silence them. Learn from what they’re trying to tell you to create a better environment for everyone. To help with this, companies can create (and importantly, fund) Employee Resource Groups as internal support and advocacy networks. These can be a great way for employees to discuss any hardships they might be facing, suggestions for improvement, and create and host activities that are internal…

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Dr. Tanya Harrison

Professional Martian who's worked on rocks and robots on the Red Planet on multiple NASA Mars missions