Showing Support For Women @ Bentley

In the last few years, and during this year especially, more individuals have become comfortable with sharing their stories. It’s important that we are listening, but also important to take action and small steps toward improvement. Specifically, in the male-dominated business world, and even on Bentley’s campus itself, there have been documented instances of sexism. Sexism is never acceptable and, similarly, the existence of the wage gap is sad. It is 2021. It is time to eradicate the idea that women are in any way, shape, or form inferior to men and fight even harder to change the way that our world still operates. When you are all CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders, you can speak out louder and financially contribute to worthy, charitable causes fighting for equality. But, for now, while you are college students, here are ways to support women at Bentley University today.

  1. Stop making derogatory comments about women.
    1. Using stereotypes or making assumptions about women and speaking those into existence is never helpful. Even if a woman in your life has upset you, using inappropriate language, spreading rumors or hurtful narratives, or keeping that bad experience as you interact with other women is very harmful to everybody.
  2. If you don’t make derogatory comments, speak out when your friends or colleagues DO. 
    1. If you’re thinking of helping women out or becoming an ally, start by being less of a bystander and speak out against inappropriate comments. It’s great if you do this while women are present to defend them and show them that you are supportive, but it is especially important when there are no women present. This is not to say that women aren’t also perpetrators of bringing other women down – it’s everybody’s problem. Watch out for individuals using offensive language and call them out on it.
  3. Be more attentive in your daily life.
    1. If you become more attentive to yourself and your surroundings, you might witness a situation in which you see a woman becoming uncomfortable or getting harassed. Your awareness allows you to help. Everybody wishes that harassment would not be an issue, but it is and it happens often, so just make sure you’re being attentive. Additionally, look to see who is tasked with “office housekeeping,” and whether the women or men in your groups are expected to tidy the workspace, make appointments, or bring everyone coffee. Be aware of when your female colleagues speak up in meetings and how others react. See if your group members ignore what women have to say but celebrate ideas when men speak up. Pay attention and invite everyone into the conversation.
  4. Give women an opportunity to shine.
    1. Many Bentley men already do this, so thank you. Let women lead group projects, homework sessions, and give them a chance to practice their skills. It has been happening less often, but there is still the idea being cycled that women are better note-takers and organized receptionist-types. Some women (like some men) aren’t going to be amazing at math or finance. That’s true and it depends on the person. But give women in your groups the same responsibilities that you would give any men and don’t set expectations of what women should be good at.
  5. Stop expecting.
    1. Perhaps the single most helpful thing that anybody could do to support women is stop expecting. Stop expecting women to owe anybody anything and to behave, look, or live a certain way. Every woman is different and deserves to show and tell her own story and personality. When there are no expectations to keep up with, stereotypes hold less value, and women will feel much more comfortable in any space that you create. 
By Alina Minkova
Alina Minkova Creative Blog Curator Alina Minkova