5 Reasons an Organization Must Have More Female Leaders?
The world is in desperate need of great leaders—whether in business or in politics. Yet, many leadership opportunities are withheld from half of the workforce.
We are talking, of course, about women in leadership. Even with all the progress we’ve made for equality in so many important ways, women are still severely underrepresented in business leadership positions.
When people call for more women in the workplace, it may sound as though they're just trying to meet a quota. Gender diversity, though, could be the key to any company's success. Diversifying a variety of top positions, specifically executive roles, is more than a movement to level the corporate playing field -- it's about using the best resources to maximize every organization's potential.
Here are just five reasons why promoting and supporting female leaders should be a top priority for all organizations.
1. Having Women in Leadership Will Help Close the Pay Gap
The gender pay gap is a maddening phenomenon that has persisted despite decades of progress in the workplace.
In reality, there isn’t just a gender pay gap—there’s a gender opportunity gap. According to the PayScale article referenced above, women and men start their careers making roughly the same amount of money for the same work, but men are offered more opportunities to advance into higher-paying leadership positions. Halfway through their careers, men are 70% more likely to be in executive positions than women, and towards the end of their careers, men are 142% more likely to fill the offices of the C-suite than women.
2. Promote a Welcoming Culture
Creating more opportunities for women starts with creating a more inclusive environment. Any specific efforts to recruit women to leadership roles in corporate settings are useless if companies don't encourage a work culture where they can succeed.
Some initial steps to creating this culture are to focus mainly on education and experience in the hiring process, offer salaries based on the market rate rather than salary history, and start rewarding outcomes achieved instead of hours worked. Each of these guidelines could build the foundation for gender equality in the workplace, thus creating an environment where women can thrive in leadership roles.
3. Women Are Brilliant Mentors
Currently, one of the obstacles women face is that men are less likely to mentor women than they are to mentor other men.
On the other hand, women are much more likely to mentor other women than they are men. The solution isn’t to have men only mentor men and women only mentor women. That would be insanity. But by having more women in leadership positions, you’re setting them up to be brilliant mentors of the next generation of women leaders. And by encouraging successful men to fill the role of mentor for aspiring women leaders, we get even closer to equality in the workplace. It has to be a team effort, or gender disparities will continue to persist.
4. Make the Results Public
Improving the opportunities for female executives at your own company is one thing, but inspiring other organizations to do the same is where the real battle lies. One way to do that is by making women leaders visible. When Emily Culp, CMO of Keds, is invited to industry events, she shares her invitation with her female colleagues.
"Real business opportunities come out of these events, but you have to be present to network."
5. Women Bargain & Negotiate With the Best of Them
Don’t think women have what it takes to negotiate in high-stakes situations? It has been well documented that women are often more effective at making deals than men, even when the stakes are as high as the highest governing body in the land.
In business, female leaders can achieve agreements and make deals where men might fall short. But they have to be at the table, and they have to be given positions of leadership and authority.