In this day and age, women are still vastly underrepresented at the top of business organizations, and also in the roles that lead to the top, progress has been slow even stalled over the last decade. Women should be empowered to walk up to senior positions. What are the pathways? What are the challenges? How to help the world achieve equality between men and women? What does it take to step up from being a technical or a functional expert, a great team leader to stepping up to a bigger, broader enterprise-wide role? What are the current facts and figures, and statistics on this topic?
Let us dive in.
Did you know?
In the U.S., women represent 47% of the workforce and in 40% of families, women are the primary or sole breadwinners.
Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform the competition.
Women earn more bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the U.S. than men.
It has been reported that women control 70% of household spending, or $12 trillion, in developed countries around the world.
Globally, women hold on average just 34% of senior leadership positions.
Women represent 45% of the S&P 500 workforce, but only 4% of the CEOs.
In a study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded organizations worldwide, 60% have no female board members!
What are the challenges?
Many challenges persist for women who aim for senior roles. While most organizations are seen to be putting effort into managing a more balanced gender diversity, there are still barriers faced by women, we mention the following:
- Women hold to higher standards; they are more detail oriented and need to do more than what men generally do to demonstrate that they are capable.
- A long way to fighting gender stereotypes, where general opinion says that men are better in doing certain jobs such as managing sports teams and in the oil & gas sector, while women are now more present in police jobs, engineers, etc.…. women should be recognized for similar skills sets as men.
- Women are not as experts as men in playing strategies and taking risks.
- Women are allegedly known to be emotionally driven while taking decisions.
- They are supposed to manage many roles within the family and multitask.
- They face harassment at work and a lack of role models.
- We see cultural and social restrictions in some countries.
- Cognitive bias in the process of hiring, promoting, rewarding, and recognizing skills.
- Lack of women’s self-confidence.
- Women are perceived as being overly aggressive when voicing their opinion.
How can this situation improve?
- Women need to learn how to be more self-confident and grab the chance in senior roles.
- Implementing fair and inclusive policies, rules, and regulations to encourage more diversity in the senior management place.
- Companies must realize the importance of having equally men and women on their top board as much as possible. It is now clearer that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially and competitively.
- Mentoring and supporting women.
- Providing unbiased training and professional development courses to those charged with selecting potential candidates.
- Fostering a work culture where women are encouraged to take on leadership roles.
- Not to forget the many recently introduced university programs on this topic from prestigious business schools.
Visualizations and Analysis.
By looking at the data from World Development Indicators, specifically the index of “Female share of employment in senior and middle management (%)” we get the results in Tableau as below:
It is clear that the global average for Women in Leadership (WIL) in 2020 reached 34% from 31% in 2010, a very slow increase. Additional efforts should be made to plan a 50% score 10 to 15 years from now.
Things to note…
Each one of us should be taking action to ensure that the world is moving towards a more inclusive workplace where women are empowered to lead and have the opportunity to develop and progress.
Different ideas and perspectives help for a more innovative world in business which will ensure growth in a sustainable way.
“Diversity and Inclusion, which are the real grounds for creativity, must remain at the center of what we do”. ~Marco Bizzarri
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization”. ~ Mahatma Gandhi