What is a women-friendly culture?

Here at Ask Patty, we talk a lot about being friendly to women, and for good reason. We made our reputation by helping car dealerships, service centers, tire dealers, collision centers, and fast lubes become certified women-friendly, with training on how they could develop their own women-friendly culture.

However, a question we get asked from time to time is, “What is female-friendly culture?” And the answer is… well, complicated, and the answer is also a moving target, one that evolves over time as attitudes and ideas change. Today, we’ll do our best to walk you through what we mean when we say “women-friendly culture.”

Much of our training deals with the topic of dealing with female clients one on one – honesty, transparency and listening skills are key. However, those are female-friendly sales methods, a part of a female-friendly culture, to be sure, but not a female-friendly culture per se. To develop a women-friendly culture, you need to think beyond raising customer service standards and thinking about what kind of company you are and what kind of workplace you offer your staff.

Women-friendly culture is not pink

Perhaps the best place to start is what is not a women-friendly culture. Obviously, the stereotypical “greasy monkey” atmosphere, pin-up posters, and shady bargaining tactics aren’t female-friendly, but let’s talk about a more subtle idea: pink washing isn’t female-friendly. Use the color pink or stereotypes of “feminine” motifs such as bows, hearts, etc. in your advertising you are not creating a women-friendly culture. Some women like pink, but women like other colors too – washing everything in pink can seem patronizing and ingenuine.

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The women-friendly culture is inclusive and diverse.

When we say “female friendly,” some people think we encourage catering to women to the point of excluding men, and that’s simply not true. A women-friendly culture is safe and inclusive for women because it is safe and inclusive for everyone. That means adopting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) concepts from the ground up. It means making your workplace a welcoming and safe environment for women, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, the neurodiverse community, and unique people from all walks of life. A women-friendly culture celebrates Pride Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Black History Month. A women-friendly culture focuses on diversity.

To learn more about cultivating a DEI-focused culture, check out our free Lunch & Learn session on the topic. here.

Women-friendly culture is people first

Using “people first” language is a kind of linguistic prescription that was conceptualized to describe people with disabilities. In a women-friendly culture, embracing diversity includes embracing people who have disabilities; using people’s language first is one way to do it. People first language means that when talking about a person who has a disability, the person always comes first and is not defined by the person’s disability. Instead of saying “Jane is epileptic,” we would say “Jane has epilepsy.” Note the difference: in the first, “epileptic” defines who Jane is, while in the second, Jane is a person in her own right, having epilepsy. People language first describes what a person has, not who a person is. is.

Acceptance of disabilities is near and dear to the culture here at Ask Patty. Historically, we have supported causes like United Spinal, National MS Society, and more. Part of embracing diversity means embracing the disabilities, including mental and physical ailments, that affect so many people’s lives.

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Women-friendly culture is community driven

Every business is part of a community. It’s easy for auto companies to establish themselves in a “niche” of their community that only interacts with those people who require their services: people who are shopping for a new car, looking for repairs, or who need new tires. However, we believe that a women-friendly culture means embracing our role as members of the community who sell, repair or maintain vehicles. Participation in community events is an important part of developing a women-friendly culture. This could include working with the local Community College to offer auto maintenance classes, sponsoring the local baseball team, organizing green initiatives like recycling drives, and giving back through food drives, diaper banks, and other initiatives focused on a cause.

In short, there is much more to developing a women-friendly culture than just targeting women in our marketing and advertising efforts: becoming women-friendly means developing a business culture that aligns with women’s values. By embracing DEI, supporting people with disabilities, and becoming a positive force in your local community, your business culture will resonate with women and everyone else, too.

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