How companies can help create more women leaders
In today’s rapidly evolving business ecosystem, organisations are faced with the challenge of evaluating how their business strategies will impact the company’s most valuable resource - its workforce - in the short and long term. Clearly, enhanced participation of women in the workforce, especially at C-suite levels, would foster a more equitable and inclusion-driven economy.
Not surprisingly, it was found that gender diversity is more prominent in companies that have women at the C-suite level, according to LinkedIn data. In fact, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), businesses with gender diversity perform better in terms of profit earning and overall productivity—57 percent of surveyed companies across the world claim that gender diversity initiatives have a positive impact on organisations.
Gender diversity in C-Suite
For a better understanding of why organisations need to improve gender diversity at C-suite levels, it is imperative to grasp the correlation between positive business outcomes and the rise in women leaders in the organisational hierarchy.
Women in leadership roles are found to be empathetic, good mentors and coaches. Along with the requisite technical skills and knowledge necessary to take fundamental business decisions, soft skills and emotional intelligence act as key competitive advantages for women.
A diverse workforce fosters creativity and innovation – with men and women having different experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints. All these aspects help in expanding knowledge-sharing and building a healthy work culture in an organisation.
Having said that, even though 2020 marked women’s highest Fortune 500 representation, reflecting an upward trend in the number of women business leaders, gender disparity continues to remain an area of concern.
Policy, tech and mentorship
Many organisations are already emphasising the development of a fair and collaborative work culture that fosters gender equality. Support facilities such as in-office day-care and crèche services, company transport for odd-hour work shifts, flexible working hours for mothers, among others, are some progressive steps.
Along with this, organisations need to implement clear-cut policies to identify and tackle gender bias and harassment. Gender stereotyping is one of the biggest roadblocks that hinders the career choices and growth of females in unconventional job roles. It is therefore a must to create opportunities for women through training and counselling to break traditional stereotypes.
As businesses are fast turning digital and technology becomes a key enabler for building agile workforces, policymakers need to leverage the same within hiring, recruitment, and retention areas. Using automated and AI-powered hiring tools can help speed up the recruitment and career growth selections based on quantitative parameters and reduce any elements of gender bias in the hiring process.
Further, leaders need to give greater thought to mentorship and leadership development programmes with a strong focus on hands-on development for women, as well as enhancing their role as members of the board of directors.
Last but not least, encouraging women to be more vocal in sharing their experiences, opinions, and achievements can go a long way in smoothening their journey toward becoming integral members of C-suite management.
Women leaders need to define their careers based on what they want, which could mean stepping out of their comfort zones. In order to create a more equitable, progressive world where every individual is treated at par, it is imperative to bring about a transformative mindset towards accepting diversity and inclusion, reducing gender inequality gaps and creating an environment that promotes political, economic, social, and personal gender equality.
Edited by Anju Narayanan
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)