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SERVIAP GLOBAL Presents 8 Compelling Reasons For Increased Women Representation In Leadership Roles

Tlalnepantla de Baz, Mexico, July 14, 2023 – Historically, women have had to break down more barriers than men to participate in decision-making. This inequality of opportunity persists, but thanks to greater access to education, more public policies that oblige companies to gender parity, and the need for greater diversity in organizations, there are more women in political roles, management positions, and at the head of transnational companies.

However, gender stereotypes and prejudice alongside other social and cultural factors maintain the glass ceiling that women face when they aspire to better jobs. These restrictions and obstacles that limit women’s progression in workplaces have nothing to do with their knowledge and skills but are caused by the institutional structure itself. As the world of work moves online, new forms of leadership in remote working may offer more opportunities for women.

The numbers do not lie

More than half of the global workforce are women between the ages of 15 and 64. Still, only 32% hold any leadership position. When they do, it is in human resources, administration, finance, marketing, or public relations, areas that the International Labor Organization (ILO) defines as support functions in the company.

Meanwhile, in its report Women in Business 2022, the Grant Thornton organization states that the proportion of women leaders worldwide has increased 11 points since 2012 and forecasts that this will reach 35% by 2025, representing just a third of management positions.

In addition, of the 5,000 business leaders Grant Thornton surveyed in 29 countries, 90% say their business has at least one woman among its highest status or C-suite executives. However, according to the 2022 Forbes 500 list, only 47 of the corporations it compiles are led by women, representing only 9.7% of CEOs, at least in the United States. In the rest of the world, the reality is different.

The World Bank considers that 178 countries, mainly in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Africa regions, maintain legal barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the economy of their territories. In 86 nations, women face some form of labor restriction, and 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for work of equal value.

Are women leaders born or made?

For centuries, people have talked about leadership, but one exercised by men and without considering the profound differences in work experiences between the genders. After years of discrimination, there are fewer role models and less experience for women.

Also, becoming a leader involves much more than taking on a leadership role, putting specific skills into practice, and getting new responsibilities. In this case, organizations must support a woman’s motivation to lead, equip her with the necessary resources to be at the head of a group, and increase the probability that others will recognize and encourage her efforts.

For a woman to become a leader and climb the corporate ranks, she must not only demonstrate her knowledge, experience, and power skills, but she must also fight even more significant obstacles when she is of a different ethnicity, belongs to the LGBTQI+ community or has a medical condition, as McKinsey’s 2022 Women in the Workplace report, in partnership with LeanIn.Org, notes.

Faced with this reality that knows no borders, governments, international organizations, and women-led human rights groups are fighting to close the gender gap so that more women can access professional education, be hired, and aspire to leadership positions within companies and public administrations.

Reasons why companies need more women in leadership

Thanks to their communication skills, empathy, the value they place on their teams, ability to persuade, generosity, and ease with which they build relationships, among other characteristics, women are vital to creating collaborative and thriving work environments.

Here are eight reasons why companies can benefit from more women leaders:

  1.     Offer uniquely important mentorship

Women can be more influential in mentoring younger generations concerned about equal opportunities and conditions. A female mentor is a paradigm shift from always having men in the flow of ideas and the transfer of new knowledge.

Women tend to be more supportive than men, so newcomers to a company, students, or trainees, regardless of gender, may feel more confident and unafraid to make mistakes when learning something new or advancing in their jobs if a woman mentors them.

  1.     Seek a different work culture

Women seek to include not only other women in their teams but also people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, with different abilities, or who belong to groups that have always been disadvantaged, creating a more diverse and inclusive work culture.

In addition, women’s empathy can help create a work culture where employee well-being is a priority, leading to better working conditions and greater flexibility. Let’s remember that the work culture evolves according to the behaviors of the people working in an organization, so having a woman as a leader would represent significant changes.

  1.     New outlooks and perspectives

Women, as part of a work team, at the front of a department, or as the head of a company, bring different points of view and approaches that emerge from their gender experience. They can bring innovative ideas and solutions to processes that have been done in the same way for years and, consequently, have always produced the same results.

When you have a diversity of perspectives, it sparks creativity and innovation among team members, which also helps organizations to spot and seize new opportunities and grow. These new perspectives can also influence companies to challenge stereotypes and add more women to their workforce.

  1. Better internal communication

When it comes to communicating and collaborating, women are the best. Their communication and assertive listening skills make them excellent mediators for creating connections in the workplace, conveying ideas, and reaching agreements when starting a project.

Women leaders use their communication skills to create open channels for meaningful dialogue with co-workers, managers, and partners, facilitating collaboration, understanding, and a sense of clarity when performing roles and assuming responsibilities.

  1.     Achieve a better financial outcome

In November 2022, As You Sow and Whistle Stop Capital conducted research that shows that a company’s positive financial performance is associated with smaller gaps between overall and management team diversity.

As a result, companies with greater gender diversity are 21% more likely to have above-average returns. In addition, the report notes that having women on a company’s board of directors increases the overall productivity of the entire organization.

  1.     It is required by law

Several European Union countries, mainly the more developed ones that are a model for other nations thanks to their standard of living, working conditions, human rights, health, and education, require public and private organizations to have a minimum quota of women in their management positions.

In 2005, Norway became the first in the world to introduce a 40% gender quota on the boards of publicly traded companies. Since then, almost half of the large private Norwegian companies have women in their top positions, which started an international boost in this field. Malaysia, for example, has since 2011 adopted a policy for companies with more than 250 employees to have boards with at least 30% women.

  1.     Young people need diverse role models

Running an inclusive workplace with more women in leadership positions is a powerful recruiting tool, as younger generations want a diversity of roles in their workplaces, people of different genders, backgrounds, races, and preferences with whom they can identify.

Two-thirds of Americans now say it is imperative to them that younger women starting their careers have more women in leadership positions as role models. This desire is powerful among Generation Z, with 82% of women under 35 looking for women leaders in their workplaces.

  1.     Women in leadership roles can close the gender pay gap

Despite decades of development, the gender pay gap exists in organizations and workplaces. The UN calculates this as around 16% globally, meaning that female workers earn an average of 84% of what men earn. The gap is even more significant for women of color, immigrants, and women with children.

When men and women start their careers from scratch, it is more common for men to have more opportunities that lead to higher-paying leadership positions. Therefore, employing more women in leadership positions can bring them more benefits and help them achieve broader goals and close this gap more effectively.

Final considerations: the barriers to women in leadership

Gender stereotypes are the most prominent barrier women face in corporate jobs. The main obstacles identified include hiring and promotion biases, women devaluation, a masculine organizational culture, work-family issues, and lack of career support.

For example, traits associated with leadership are often considered masculine and are not viewed favorably when exhibited by women. In addition, issues such as sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and prejudice persist as obstacles, as does the lack of workplace policies that help women. Many are workers and heads of households responsible for raising children and caring for other family members.

Also, another factor why there are fewer women leaders in companies is because they demand more and are willing to change jobs to get what they want and need. Their primary motivations are that they do more to support others, want greater job flexibility, and are looking for jobs that allow them to grow and advance.

Many women also experience microaggressions not only because of their gender but because of their race, sexual orientation, and medical conditions. As a result, these groups face more barriers to advancement. However, to make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, companies should consider getting more women into leadership positions and retaining the women leaders they already have. That will require going beyond standard practices and will take time, but it is not impossible.

 

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Company: Serviap Global

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