A survey conducted by Pew Research Centre lists several areas where women are stronger in key areas of business. Survey respondents noted that women are:
– 34% better at working out compromises
– 34% more likely to be honest and ethical
– 30% more likely to provide fair pay and benefits
– 25% better at mentoring
However, gender equality remains a major issue the corporate world. Despite an abundance of research confirming that companies with more women in the C-Suite are more profitable, there is still a gender gap in the vast majority of companies. Women remain significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline, with fewer women than men hired at entry level, and representation declining further at every subsequent step.
Since we know having more women at senior level will result in a win-win situation, how can we make women see the senior roles as achievable and encourage more women into them?
There are a number of ways, the first one is to shout about women’s successes. Women can be modest when it comes to shouting about their success. Though modesty is often seen as a good trait, women must be more vocal about their own successes. Not only does it help to make their superiors aware of their competency and ability to do the job, it also encourages other women to do the same; whether promoting themselves or their female colleagues.
Why does this matter? It matters a lot because no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the side, not at the table, and no one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their successes, or they don’t even understand their own successes.
Apart from that, enabling opportunities for female staff to access and meet female role models helps to create a positive support network. I met my first mentor in a female leadership community, over there, I found there were a lot of female leaders who face the same problem as I did. Organizations should promote female industry networks, to create a space for women to meet, engage and inspire one another.
Furthermore, women need to be more confident and willing to take more risks. A report revealed that women only applied for promotions if they believed they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job, whereas men applied for a role if they believed they met 60% of the requirements. This seems to highlight women’s lack of confidence in putting themselves forward for promotions and senior roles. Unfortunately, many women underestimate their abilities, and also their competence to learn new skills while working in a role.
In the first few years of my career, I worked hard but I always hesitated to ask for a pay rise from the employer, or hesitated to provide my true feedback about what I did and what I expected. That also happened when I looked for jobs which the job duties were not 100% of what I did in the past. I believe this happened to a lot of women too. This could result in the fact that jobs they could apply, especially when they are in senior positions, are very limited as they narrow the range of the jobs by themselves. It is important that employers engage with female staff to help boost their self-belief. This will ensure that more women are confident in their own qualifications and assured enough to apply for these senior roles.