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29 Small Things That Can Go A Long Way In Making Work Environments Feel Less Hostile Towards Women

The average person spends about one third of their lifetime at work. So if there’s anything that makes you feel uncomfortable in your work environment, that can take a huge toll on you. It's not easy to do a great job when your fingers are numb from a freezing cold Office, and your feet are constantly aching from being required to wear heels. There are plenty of things that can affect how "at home" you feel in the office, especially if you’re a woman…

Women have been detailing on Reddit all of the small things that can go a long way in making a workplace feel less hostile, and every CEO should be taking notes. From making parents’ lives easier to providing sanitary products in the restrooms, we’ve gathered the most spot-on responses down below. Keep reading to also find an interview with Miki Feldman Simon, founder of IamBackatWork, and be sure to upvote the replies you agree with.


My old job had a box of good-to-have stuff in ALL restrooms. They were unisex, so there was both tampons, pads, pantyliners, spray deodorant in two different fragrances ("male" and "female"), hairspray, dental floss sticks and such.

T'was a good thing.

Image credits: dumhuvud

To gain more insight on this topic, we reached out to Miki Feldman Simon. Miki is an Executive Coach and the founder of IamBackatWork, which was created to empower people with practical advice, tools and skills to accelerate their personal and professional growth. Lucky for us, Miki was kind enough to have a chat with Bored Panda about the ways in which workplaces often prioritize the desires of men over the concerns and needs of women.

"We see this in simple things like office temperature, often set to be way too cold for women, or fun activities aimed towards men, like football games or social events held after office hours when women often need to be home to care for their kids," Miki shared. "Systemically, men are often given more opportunities for career advancement and higher salaries, while women face challenges such as gender-based discrimination, unequal pay, and a lack of support for family responsibilities."


This is dumb as hell but my office’s stairs are see-thru because I’m in billing for EnGiNeEriNg, so folks wearing dresses to go upstairs have to be clever about how they do it.

Image credits: lilacpointsiamese


If there is a dresscode, make it universal. Same rules for all.

Image credits: anon

"I always had extra layers at the office to account for freezing temperatures," Miki told Bored Panda. "As the only woman in the management team, I would often feel like an outsider when the discussion would revolve around sports. For years, I had to decline the drinks after work and go home to my kids. The men bonded and built deeper relationships. They all had kids at home too. It was their wives responsibility to be there for them."


Easy access to a bathroom. Meaning no asking for a key or having to ask people before going to the bathroom. Also a trash can right next to the toilet and maybe some emergency period products

Image credits: Luwe95


Make it easier for women to take sick time for reproductive health issues. I've dealt with fibroids for years now and it would've been nice if I felt comfortable enough on my worse days to take time off to rest.

Don't assign a woman the social tasks of the office unless she volunteers to. Not every woman wants to keep track of birthdays, bridal showers and baby showers.

Image credits: Carolinablue87

When it comes to what workplaces should be doing to ensure that women feel comfortable, Miki says they should assess where they are not meeting women’s needs and where they are not providing equal opportunities. "They should prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as offering flexible work arrangements, providing equal pay for equal work, addressing gender-based discrimination and harassment, providing access to leadership and mentorship opportunities for women, and offering family-friendly policies such as parental leave and child care support," she told Bored Panda.


Eliminate sexist jokes from the workplace. Stop saying periods are disgusting and inappropriate when you’re a 35 year old male supervisor.

Image credits: Alternative-Water-50


- Bins for tampons and pads by the toilets. That preferably also are sound proofed and not right to someone's office...

- I think most humans are unhappy in open offices. I know I would detest it.

Image credits: eiroai

"It's essential for everyone to feel equally included in their work environment because it leads to greater job satisfaction, higher levels of employee engagement and productivity, and a more positive workplace culture overall," Miki added. "A workplace that values diversity and inclusion benefits everyone, not just women, by creating a more supportive and collaborative environment."


Please no required heels!

Image credits: Sirendimensions


Women in power putting down the rest of us and acting like snakes, this is not a competition, we dont want your place, we just want to get our coin without feeling the need to cry over a toxic environment other women create. We are in this together, its already hard to live in a mens world, why some women feel the need to make it harder.

Image credits: mjigs

"We all need to be invested in making a change and creating an environment that is just as welcoming to women as it is to men," Miki says. "In addition to workplace policies, it's essential for individuals to be aware of their own biases and to actively work to create a more inclusive workplace culture. Everyone can play a role in promoting diversity and inclusion by listening to diverse perspectives, respecting differences, and challenging stereotypes and biases."

If you'd like to learn more about Miki or gain some guidance for how to further your own career, be sure to visit IamBackatWork right here.


If someone is talking down to your coworkers/employees for being a woman, support them.

I had a customer insult my knowledge because I'm a woman. So my male coworker bartender went to serve them. He played dumb to the questions, asked me and repeated the answer I gave him which I said loud enough for the person to hear came from my mouth first.

That gained all my love and respect because most places are like you're in customer service "deal with it". Here the customer isn't always right and they don't get to treat people like punching bags.

Image credits: TenaciousToffee


A clean place for pumping! Telling a lot woman she needs to pump in the bathroom stall definitely creates an unwelcome feeling.

Image credits: grumpybumpkin


Temperature in the office must be suitable for everybody. Very often women and their health suffer because the temperature in offices is set to accommodate the male body.

A period products dispenser in the ladies‘ toilets is always welcome.

Ceasing to treat women like informal secretaries would make a difference. No, Cassie doesn’t have to write the protocol to the meeting. Neither should Jenny be responsible with organizing the team building or office party. Samantha doesn’t have to gather the money for Chris‘ birthday present and spend her own personal time buying his gift on behalf of the team just because „she’s really good at it.“

Image credits: Phigwyn


Decent parental leave policies make it more inclusive to women.

Image credits: anon


Bigger toilets for women: normally in workplaces both toilets occupy an equal area. The thing is that women need more time on the toilet, as we have to deal with periods etc. Also, we can only use a WC, so, if we have the same space as in a men's toilet, inevitably less WCs are going to fit in the room. Probably it's sounds silly, so let me put a personal example: when I was in College, after some classes, it was very common for the women to take longer to get to the next class than men, as we almost always have to wait to use the toilet.

Also tampons etc in toilets, as someone commented, are a great idea.

And another silly idea: adapting spaces thinking on the different heights between men and women, in my job I'm the only one who needs a stool to reach certain tools, and some times I even need to ask for help. Now that I think about it, I need also a footrest in my desk due to the height of the table, as my feet don't touch the ground even in high heels lol

Also is fundamental to have a clear politic about sexual harassment, but that's another story.

Image credits: EyoneGa


A well-balanced number of men and women on all levels of hierarchy usually does the trick.

Image credits: schwarzmalerin


There’s been stories of women being fired from their office jobs for refusing to wear make up or heels to work, which obviously has no effect on how they work

Image credits: mattpel1


Well if the IT dept in the international company I work for, where every new employee has to go to get their laptop, could take down the calendars (plural) featuring naked women, that would be great (yea, i already filed a complaint, call me a stuck-up bi*ch)

Image credits: alterega1


Flexible work schedules. Make it possible for a parent to leave at 4:30 to pick up their kids from school. And sick leave. Women are more likely than men to have to leave work to care for a sick child or parent. Don’t punish them for that, it’s society’s doing.

Image credits: MuppetManiac


Life outside the office is horrendously imbalanced for women. We do most of the housework and childcare.

My office is 100% work from home and 100% flexible hours. As long as you log all required hours within the pay period (2 weeks) and attend your client meetings you can work whenever you want.

The men are like, "neat" but the women are like, "thank you this makes a huge difference in my life."

Image credits: rf-elaine


Keep the temperature turned up a degree or two higher than the “normal”. Goes for heater and AC.

My last workplace was all men, no matter what I wore I got cold sitting at the computer all day. My nails would turn blue fairly often, especially after I ate. I eventually left that office bec I was cold all day, everyday, year in, year out, and the male coworkers just kept making it colder. It’s miserable, and I felt like all my energy went into trying to stay warm. I even brought a heating pad to work. I tried using a space heater for my feet but it made my male coworkers in the next cubicle too warm.

Room temps are often set to men’s comfort level in an office space, not women’s.

Image credits: salmonsashimiplease


More inclusive:

* flexibility of work hours/sick time (so that those with bad periods, monthly migraines, etc can adapt work schedules accordingly)

More hostile:

* discouragement of open and honest discussions about salary and/or hourly wages and bonuses

Image credits: Doon672


Be actively inclusive of women in your space. I work in STEM and am often the only woman on the team. I am by default not included in informal social, team building things like grabbing lunch together, a drink after work etc. When someone doesn't look like to rest of you, it's important to actively include them.

It's not enough to not be excluding of them, you need to actively be inclusive of them.

Image credits: recyclopath_


Pumping room with a soft, comfortable chair, and easily accessible electrical outlets.

Better yet, onsite childcare who will bring your baby to you a few times a day to breastfeed.

Image credits: searedscallops


Ask everyone, ideally through an anonymous survey, what they would like to see to make the office more inclusive. Sometimes individual offices have things you wouldn't see on some standard list.

Image credits: Scopeexpanse


It’s all the behaviour of men so I don’t know how to change that but the small things I would love to see go, are:

- being called “love” “sweetheart” or “darling” by my older male co-workers
- being touched on the waist in order to get my attention rather than tapping my shoulder or calling my name
- male bosses casually referring to their “b***h” ex wives and their “whore” ex girlfriends to the other men in the room while I have to pretend I’m not there
- when a department that has a female boss or a mostly female team is doing something and it’s “the girls are doing their thing” but every other department is “the team working hard”.
- all the older women in work being mocked and told they’re “getting too old for this job” by men that aren’t that much younger than them
- everything to do with cleaning and tidiness is left for female colleagues, even if it isn’t their job.
- male colleagues coming to ask for advice and emotional support and to listen to their problems but never returning that effort or offering a real friendship. Basically being their free therapist. And if you don’t want to listen, you’re a “cold b***h”.
- when a woman is hard to work with or bad at her job, there’s a smugness amongst the men because they see it as evidence that women aren’t up for the higher positioned jobs.
- when a woman gets promoted, I have to hear all the men have conversations about how she only got it because she’s a woman
- when I make complaints about co-worker harassing me, I’m told to “talk it out” with them, as if I’m the one making a problem.
- co-workers that are old enough to be my dad, staring at my chest non stop and everyone defending him because “he’s a laugh”.

Image credits: thanarealnobody


Making things that actually fit.

I work construction. We're given protective gear and most of it is too big for the women on site, and all the while they tell you that wearing baggy clothing is dangerous. We're all given rain gear and they have sizes up to 4xl but they don't buy smalls, so mine doesn't fit. They don't order small gloves. They don't order small harnesses. They gave us all congratulatory jackets for reaching a particular milestone. Mine is too big.

It seems small but it turns into a nagging reminder that you don't belong and that "this place isn't made for you"

Just making sure that you have access to the right equipment goes miles and i think people will do a better job when they feel heard and respected. How can i expect to do a good job when my gloves don't even fit properly?

Image credits: typeyhands


My workplace is pretty good for this. Putting aside physical workplace issues, flexibility around childcare issues are a big thing. If a school age kid gets sick, allowing a parent to work from home so they can stay with them and other things like that help so much.

Image credits: peppermind


I'm just going to be THAT PERSON: the best thing to make it inclusive is openness about and equality in regards with pay.

Image credits: TenNinetythree


When chairing meetings, have a way of ensuring that people who have something to contribute, will be heard when they do so.

It happens far too often that a woman or a new team member is cut off part way through expressing something, only for a more senior or male coworker to say the same thing later and get all of the credit for it. It’s rare that the person bringing it up later will hand the credit back; even rarer for someone to say “I’d like to hear more about what [original idea presenter] was saying earlier about [idea], would you mind?”

By doing this, you’re also fostering talent by making sure employees feel heard, and are recognized for what they contribute.

Image credits: kellerae

This post first appeared on How Movie Actors Look Without Their Makeup And Costume, please read the originial post: here

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29 Small Things That Can Go A Long Way In Making Work Environments Feel Less Hostile Towards Women


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