CCE and Women in the Workplace

The good news is that many employers seek to increase their recruitment of women and promote and support women in their workplaces. Women, however, continue, to face unique challenges during the job/internship search and on the job. Some concerns that women at Columbia have shared with our office include learning how to:

  • identify companies that support and advance women
  • negotiate salaries throughout their careers
  • get promoted and recognized for their contribution
  • initiate and build mentor relationships


We are committed to supporting you with curated resources and one on one counseling appointments to help navigate these topics.

Columbia University and CCE resources

There are many organizations, initiatives, and offices on campus to support women and provide opportunities and information including:

  • Columbia Women’s Business Society Alumnae Group
  • She Opened The Door - Columbia University Women’s Conference
  • SEAS Women in Science & Engineering Conference
  • Student organizations like LeanIn @ Columbia, Columbia Women’s Business Society, Columbia Women in Law & Politics, Women in Computer Science, Society of Women Engineers, Women in Science at Columbia 
  • Office of Gender-Based Misconduct
     

Identifying Organizations that Support and Advance Women at Work

There are many ways that organizations can support and advance women and support gender parity in the workplace including:

  • Offering mentorship programs
  • Supporting women-focused recruiting initiatives
  • Offering generous parental leave and flexibility policies
  • Prioritizing having women represented in leadership roles and in board positions
  • Providing back-to-work programs for women re-entering the workforce

When evaluating organizations, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself and the organization including:

  • Does the organization have a diversity statement that includes women? What, specifically, does it say?
  • What supports does the company have for women in the workplace, including affinity groups? Who is part of those groups?
  • Does the company share any numbers or data to support any claims of gender parity?
  • Are there mentorship or sponsorship programs at the organization for women?
  • What are the workplace policies for parental leave and flexibility?
  • Does the organization have a commitment to equal pay?
  • Who is in leadership roles? Who is in board roles? How long have they been in these roles?

You can also use many tools to evaluate an organization including:

  • Company websites and social media accounts
  • Coverage of the organization in the news
  • Corporate social responsibility initiatives
  • Corporate sponsorships (e.g., festivals, organizations, movements)
  • Using About Us/Staff pages and LinkedIn to look at those in leadership roles (who is in current roles, who has left recently)
  • Asking questions on informational interviews and during the interview process about company values and initiatives

Additional websites to help you evaluate organizations:

For more on this topic, check out:

Salary Negotiation

The book “The Confidence Code” argues that men initiate salary negotiations 4x as often as women do, and when women do negotiate, they ask for 30% less money than men. And, according to AAUW, in 2016 women working full time in the United States were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid.

You can meet with a career counselor at any stage in your job search to talk about techniques for salary negotiation, build your skills in this area, and take steps to help end the gender pay gap.

To get started on the basics of the topic, tap into CCE’s resources on salary negotiation:

Salary range research tools

Additional Resources

These are some of our favorite resources for information, events, inspiration, and stories:

Resources

In the Know