Whether large or small, almost every organization struggles to stay ahead of its competitors and perform better by adopting different strategies. In this fast-paced world, companies are always on the lookout for new approaches that will help them reach success. Today, organizations also understand that talent is a rare resource that can be found equally in both genders. Therefore, gender parity has proved to be one of the constituents of diversity management in an organization and can contribute significantly to financial progress.
Many business organizations claim they do not have any barriers preventing women from gaining equal access to top-level positions, however, the harsh reality is that women have less of a chance of obtaining an executive level role in most organizations. Only five out of eighty-three countries according to the Global Gender Index Gap show gender equality, specifically in the organizations’ leadership positions. Due to some conspicuous or inconspicuous barriers, women are usually stuck to an organizational hierarchy’s bottom or middle level. Suffice to say men still have an advantage over women regarding managerial or executive roles in any enterprise.
As per the UNESCO Institute of Statistics Global Database, the youth literacy rate had increased from 83% to 91%. It is also worthy to note that the percentage of literate people remains equal for both men and women in two-thirds of countries worldwide which indicates that an increasing number of women are now acquiring education and this has resulted in many opportunities being unlocked in executive level positions. For this reason, many women are pursuing online executive education courses to develop their leadership and management skills to assist them in climbing the corporate ladder.
According to Statista, the women’s employment rate has increased substantially in the United States over the past few years. It has increased from 65.58 million in 2011 to 74.08 million in 2019. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, positions mostly occupied by women have been more vulnerable with around 13.4 million women losing their jobs in the initial months of 2020.
BENEFITS OF WOMEN IN THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT
Organizations with women in top executive roles have climbed the ladder of success at a much faster rate. This is likely because of the sound qualities they bring to the table and their significant contributions to the organizational objectives, such as resilience and leadership. With that said, no one can downgrade women’s roles as they are equally as valuable as men in the professional world. Below are some of the benefits of having women in the workplace.
Bridge the Gap of Gender Inequality
Most countries worldwide have the gender equality clause in their constitution. Although the nature of that clause may differ from country to country, many fail to actually implement it. Today, many organizations are employing more women to create a balance between both genders and provide equal opportunities to everyone.
Play a Part in the Sound Economy
Many organizations emphasize women’s economic empowerment and realize that by excluding them you would be missing out on a large portion of the skilled workforce that can help further contribute to the economy. When all genders share an equal proportion in senior leadership roles, there is a fair share of income disparity between gender. Women can then enhance their financial status, thus contributing more to the GDP growth in the country.
Diversity Enables Creativity
The more diverse your workforce the more they are able to come up with creative ideas because of differences in perspective. Due to this, organizations can make better decisions and increase productivity, creativity and innovation. Diversity also helps the workforce in representing their client’s mentality and anticipate the kind of products or services they’ll look for. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that increasing leadership teams’ diversity leads to improved financial performance.
Build Long Term Trust
Every organization shares a unique bond of trust with its employees and wouldn’t risk this relationship at any cost. Any unethical behavior or immoral conduct by the organization can ruin this relationship and the organization might have to face the repercussions for a very long time. Not to forget how it will also hamper the productivity level, discourage the employees, and cause significant financial loss.
In a study published on researchgate.com, researchers attempted to develop an understanding of how people differentiate between perceived levels of trust associated with male and female leadership. It was concluded that women display better use of relational behaviors that are manifested when crisis consequences are known. Women, who are also perceived to be more empathetic than their male counterparts, can help the organization avoid such circumstances while maintaining the relation of trust among employees on all levels. Ultimately, this decreases employee dissatisfaction and turnover, enhances their lifetime value and helps the organization meet its business goals.
BARRIERS TO WOMEN IN ORGANIZATIONS
Despite all the advantages that women bring to the corporate world, it comes as no surprise that women still encounter various barriers. Some of them are:
The “Only” Factor
Women find it challenging to work in an environment where they are underrepresented. It is very common for women to experience harassment or derogatory behaviors, especially in environments where they are underrepresented. They also become victims of microaggressions and sometimes have to prove their competence to their male co-workers. The increasing gender-discrimination rate has caused many women to leave their current roles or be reluctant to enter workplace environments where they are underrepresented.
The Primary Caretaker of the Family
In most societies, a common notion exists that women cannot participate in office jobs. Instead, they should only invest time in motherhood and household chores. When working women break these stereotypes, they often face backlash. As a result, most women appear to become drained out at the end of the day and this constant stress and burnout can have significant negative impacts on them and their mental health over time.
With globalization, many organizations today require managers and top executives to travel to different cities or countries. Due to societal pressures, women with children often experience societal backlash, making them reluctant to relocate or travel often. This shouldn’t be the case as given the tech-savvy world we live in – not only nannies are available for assistance, but moms can also monitor their children with security cams etc. However, some male dominating societies in the world are reluctant to accept women in leadership roles due to cognitive biases.
The increasing inclination of women towards education and learning skills has opened gateways for their successful careers. Companies cannot ignore their need for women in leadership roles anymore. Today, women can compete at the same level as men and can prove to be better in certain areas. Women have come a long way in organizations through career building practices, hard work, and sheer motivation.
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.