You’re dressed to the nines for the interview of your absolute dream job. You’ve practiced the questions and studied the company. You’re ready. You walk into the building cool and confident, but in the back of your mind, you know that women and men are not often treated equally in the workplace. Will this be one of those places? Do you have to worry about unfair payment, sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, or being fired if you become pregnant? Despite stringent laws about workplace discrimination, women get fired for, well, being a woman. All the time.
Don’t believe me? This woman was fired for being pregnant and ended up in a shelter. This woman was fired for being too pretty. This woman was fired for being pro-life. This woman was fired for being transgender. Oh, and these women? Yeah. They were fired for being a woman.
How can these issues be avoided? Specifically, how can you avoid getting into one of these situations?
1. Pay very close attention to the interview questions.
A company can look great on paper and still be a terrible place to work. If something seems off during the interview, it probably is. There are definitely questions that are illegal to ask during an interview. If you’re asked whether or not you plan to have children, that is totally and utterly unacceptable. If you were asked if you’re married, that’s also illegal. A question about your views on religion and abortion are too. This is a good list of questions to ask during an interview that can give you a better view into the corporation.
2. Read the employee handbook — no, study it.
This is where you can get down to the bones of the company. Does the handbook look like it came straight out of 1985? Does it discuss, in detail, benefits? Does it get into the nitty gritty of maternity leave? Even if you plan to never have children, pay close attention to this section. If the company isn’t treating it’s pregnant employees well, will it treat other women well?
3. Become super familiar with the reputation of company.
Check everywhere. Google it, check it out on LinkedIn, look on Facebook. Read every single Glassdoor review. They’re usually true. Read anyone articles about the company and compare it to what employees are saying on Glassdoor. There are a lot of places where dirt can hide and it’s better to find out before it’s too late that they don’t treat women with respect.
4. Where are all the damn women?
Look from the top down. Are there women in charge? What does the ratio of men to women look like? Are all the women working for the men, is it the other way around, or is there a fine balance going on?
5. What’s the work-life balance like?
Does the company allow working from home? Flexible hours? Again, these may not be specific issues to you, but it gives good insight into how they treat women who also fulfill the motherhood role, and since about 50% of women ages 15-44 are mothers, that’s a pretty huge deal.
Finding the right job can be hard, but working for a company that empowers women is so worth it.
Related-ish: 9 Signs Your Boss Might Be Sexist