Women-Friendly Companies in Business –

Women like to imagine that we can have it all, and it’s possible, but not easy. Of course, having it all is significantly easier if you work for a company that has female-friendly policies. Although corporate culture is something that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention in the hiring process, it can have an incredible impact on your life, especially if you’re a woman working in the corporate world. Factors including health insurance, maternity leave, and even a willingness to promote women to the upper echelon are all measurable ways we can determine whether a company treats women right, even if we can’t delve into their corporate culture firsthand.

This week, The Jane Dough shared their picks for The 15 Best Companies for Women, taking into consideration the number of female board members, maternity leave, childcare options, percentage of women in the workplace, and more. Cosmetics seller Avon tops the list with a whopping 55% of female workers (and a 54.5% female board membership to match), childcare, and a corporate commitment to help employees balance work and family. Not surprisingly, many of the companies cater to women as both employees and customers, but there are a few that we didn’t expect, including industrial giants General Motors, General Mills, Sunoco, and even insurance companies including Pacific Life and WellPoint. Here’s the full list:

  1. Avon
  2. Publix Supermarket
  3. Target
  4. General Motors
  5. Estee Lauder
  6. Key Bank
  7. Macy’s
  8. Pacific Life
  9. WellPoint
  10. Kelly Services
  11. Principal Financial
  12. General Mills
  13. Health Net
  14. Pepsi Co.
  15. Sunoco

You can find all of their picks, as well as stats and statements from the companies on The Jane Dough.

Will you be fortunate enough to work for a woman-friendly company? We’re sure Avon is hiring, but female-friendly policies exist beyond cosmetics companies and the Fortune 500, even among small businesses that may fly under the radar. Although the companies on this list all seem to be great choices for informed women in business, we think it’s a great idea to look beyond them, considering what makes a company great for women, and search for businesses that fit the profile. Here are a some of the markers we look for in a company that truly supports women:

  • Women exist at all levels of leadership. Middle management is not enough; look at upper management and the C-level. Does the list look diverse? Chances are, ladies at the top mean a better culture for all women at the company.
  • Women exist, period. Does the office look like a boys’ club? Find out the ratio of male to female employees, and look for one that’s at least 40% women. Also find out if the company offers one-on-one mentoring among female employees, a perk that many top women-friendly companies offer.
  • Women are paid fairly. Again, look to the top for this. You may be able to find this information publicly for large companies. If female executives exist, are they on the same level (financially and otherwise) as male executives?
  • Family-friendly policies are in place. So often, female-friendly policies really mean “family-friendly policies.” Not every woman wants to start a family, but for many young women entering the workforce, paid maternity leave, family policies, and child care are important issues. Whether you plan to use them or not, having family-friendly policies is a good indicator of the female-friendliness of a company.
  • The company demonstrates a dedication to work/life balance. Many of these policies are also family-friendly, but they’re great for everyone: male, female, and even kids. Telecommuting, perks like gym discounts, and flex time are important to keeping balance, especially if you decide to start a family.

What makes a company woman-friendly for you? Do you have the opportunity to work for a recognized female-friendly company?