5 signs you’re in a toxic workplace for women

5 actions women can take if they’re in a toxic workplace

So, the first step is knowing that you are not imagining this. But then, what do you do about it?

1. Educate yourself about your workplace rights

Women need to be knowledgeable about laws in their country protecting them from gender-based workplace discrimination. Knowing your rights can help you respond confidently when faced with bad behaviour in the workplace.

2. Document any bad behaviour

If you experience or observe sexist behaviour, gender discrimination, or disrespectful behaviour, it’s important to document it accurately and thoroughly.

This includes writing a detailed account that includes the date, specific details of what happened, names of any witnesses and other relevant information. Having these records can be helpful if you decide to take further action.

3. Join or form a support network

Women’s workplace employee resource groups (ERGs) or networks can be a terrific source of support. Your women colleagues may have faced similar challenges and can validate what you are experiencing and provide support.

ERGs are an invaluable source of information and can help you stay informed and keep workplace leaders informed about the lived experience of women in the workplace.

4. Take a stand

If it’s safe and you have support, take a stand when confronted with disrespectful behaviour or gender discrimination and sexism.

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This does not mean arguing with the colleague who has made inappropriate comments; rather, practising techniques to help them realise their actions’ harmfulness.

For example, you can show you don’t think what’s been said is okay without saying anything. Rolling your eyes or not laughing along is a good start. That awkward silence and ‘the things you don’t say’ can go a long way towards making disrespect less popular.

Our Watch has helpful resources to ensure your voice is heard and bad behaviour is called out.

5. Take care of yourself

Feeling overwhelmed, sad and despondent in a toxic workplace is commonplace. Taking the time to take care of yourself is vital.

Ensure you’re getting enough rest, eating well, and engaging in activities you enjoy will help your mental health. It’s also important to stay connected with friends and family outside of work who can provide emotional support.

When all is said and done, the number one priority for women should be themselves. If your workplace is toxic and not changing, get out because no job is worth your health and wellbeing.