27 Ways to Create a Women-Centered Workplace

By Ellevest Team

While we’ve come a long way from the kind of sexist, racist office culture that was once depicted in Mad Men, masculinity is still deeply embedded in the DNA of the American workplace. In many offices, modern Don Drapers live among us, having switched out their three-piece suits for Patagonia vests and hoodies. Their macro-aggressions are now microaggressions and their daily whiskey drink … well, in some cases, it’s still a daily whiskey drink. (And OK, some of their macro-aggressions survived, too.)

From the very architecture of our offices to the traditional structure of a 9-to-5 workday, our workplace culture was built with men in mind. But what would happen if we tore it all down and rebuilt it, from scratch, thinking about women instead? Ellevest CEO and co-founder Sallie Krawcheck used hard data to imagine what that looks like in a recent Op-Ed for Fast Company. But we wanted to hear what our community had to say on the subject, too.

Here are some of your answers.

Two women reach for each other as they meet on a flight of stairs. Illustration.

No more boys’ club networking (and more women in leadership!)

  • “Provide access to hybrid training for leadership positions = more women in the boardroom = stronger economy 💰💰💰.”

  • “I would like networking events to go beyond golf and drinking. Opportunities to engage with leadership, customers, etc. in the financial industry need to evolve beyond the standard boys’ club outings of the past and be more accessible to a diverse population of employees.”

  • “Less competition for the one seat at the table, more collaboration. Less hierarchy, more self-governance. Less chasing of money, more consideration for environmental and community impact. List goes on!”

  • “Work events don’t revolve around alcohol, bars, and golf.” 

Versatile work schedules and chiller (more realistic) dress codes 

  • “Goal- and date-oriented tasks. All meetings would have in-person and online options. 30-minute meeting default time. Reschedule meetings with no reason given or asked. No impromptu meetings. 24- to 48-hour windows of time to respond to email or chat.”

  • “Reward me for efficiency, not how many hours I'm willing to work.”

  • “A more flexible approach to working hours and deadlines/project work, more emphasis on lifting others up, a redefined ‘work’ dress code, and definitely warmer office temps!!!”

  • “Let’s not forget that men’s office clothing is FAR more comfortable than women’s! Different ‘professional dress’ expectations.”

  • “Flexible work schedules. Men taking notes during meetings and not defaulting that task to women. Dedicated lactation rooms that don’t double as conference rooms. Meditation rooms. On-site daycare. 100% paid parental leave for birth and adoptions.”

A more parent-friendly office 

  • “On-site daycare! Would be so easy not to add another drop off / pickup or time constraint to get home to the nanny if your kids could spend the day in a stimulating learning environment on the same campus as work.”

  • “Four magic words: Subsidized on-site child care.”

  • “Sinks in the pump / nursing room, which cannot be used as a meeting room or utility closet.”

  • “Health care that would actually benefit the mom.”

Better policies for people who experience periods (or other hormonal changes!)

  • “Acknowledging menopause and midlife health changes. It’s not all about reproduction. Post-reproductive reality matters a ton to set up women for real success, which is very likely to be achieved in the second half of life. If we let peri/menopause derail a woman’s career, we lose massive societal assets.”

  • “The ability to not have to work when you have your period! Mine are painful and I’m often doubled over in pain the first couple days.”

  • “Two days off a month for menstrual cycles.”

  • “Days off for PMS and recovering from miscarriages.”

  • “Feminine hygiene products in the restrooms! Finally got this from our business owners.”

  • “Better tampons in the bathroom. No more of that cheap cardboard sh*t. 😂”

OK, OK, we hear you: Offices need to be warmer 

  • “Has anyone said warmer offices?? Working in a 68-degree space is NO FUN! ❤️”

  • “Higher office temps, seriously … obviously not the most important of them all, but it’s up there for me! 😅🥶”

Body-inclusive office furniture and safe office design

  • “Desks that are ergonomically designed for us.”

  • “Furniture not built for a 6-foot tall person. The average woman is 5’4”.”

  • “Meeting rooms with large glass windows, open workspaces, glass lifts — basically remove as far as possible isolated corners where ‘friendly’ male colleagues can hold you hostage in situations that make you feel uncomfortable.”

Overall? A more compassionate, comfortable workplace for everybody 

  • “Music, cozy working spaces, flexible schedules, more plants. 🌱”

  • “Some semblance of trust in folks managing their space, presence, calendar. I used to do such mental gymnastics to sneak away to change a tampon. What.”

  • “It would be a space that would prioritize creativity, healthy team dynamics, empathy and compassionate partnerships paired with getting amazing work done. 💚🔥”


© 2022 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Information was obtained from third-party sources, which we believe to be reliable but not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness.

All opinions and views expressed by Ellevest are current as of the date of this writing, for informational purposes only, and do not constitute or imply an endorsement of any third party’s products or services.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice.

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As of 8/15/2022,  Ellevest Membership fees can be found here. Other fees as described in Ellevest’s Wrap Fee Program Brochure and the Ellevest Membership Terms and Conditions Agreement will continue to apply.

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Ellevest helps women build and manage their wealth through goal-based investing, financial planning, and wealth management. Our mission is to get more money in the hands of women.