Women are slowly rising in leadership roles in different industries. However, gender-related challenges and stereotypes are present in the workplace.
Although not all startup owners seek investors to help them get their firms off the ground, those who do understand how challenging the pitching process can be. Sadly, the reality is the process of raising funding for women-owned enterprises is much more difficult. A Babson College survey found that female CEOs accounted for less than 3% of companies receiving venture capital funding.
The United Nations website also states that women still experience inequality when it comes to salary. They said “worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. As a result, there’s a lifetime of income inequality between men and women and more women are retiring into poverty.” The pay gap also widens for women of colour, immigrant women and mothers.
Most female CEOs have found themselves in a male-dominated business or workplace that refuses to recognise their leadership role at some point. This makes current work culture still a big challenge for women in leadership roles today.
Women executives are much more likely than men leaders to leave their job because they want more flexibility or to work for a company that values employee well-being and DEI or diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In the last two years, these elements have only grown in importance for women leaders. McKinsey’s article says that women leaders are more than 1.5 times as likely as males at their level to have left a previous job to work for a company that is more committed to DEI.
Among the major challenges that many female executives face is unconscious bias. This can range from believing in gender stereotypes to having subconscious beliefs regarding women’s talents. Bias can also present itself in preferences for women who act, speak, and dress in specific ways.
Unconscious biases against female employees are particularly harmful in management and leadership positions. According to research, such biases can make it significantly more difficult and slower for women to advance to executive roles than for males.
Although gender bias is now more frowned-upon in the workplace, it is still difficult to fully erase unconscious bias in the workplace. Addressing them necessitates a close examination of how a workplace operates, followed by the implementation of anti-discrimination training and greater equality policies.
While the road toward gender equity is still far off, it’s not totally bleak for women in business as there are advantages and opportunities that come with being a woman in business.
Gender equality is becoming a matter of policy for many forward-thinking firms, whether it’s pledging to equal representation of women on corporate boards or appointing diversity officers.
Hiring policies that discourage and avoid bias can help organisations gain the benefits of balance and equality. More than political correctness or platitudes, organisations prosper when diversity, inclusivity, and gender equality become policy and are incorporated into business strategy.
Committing to things like equal gender representation, inclusive business culture, and work-life balance including providing maternity and paternity benefits can also help organisations attract top talent.
While technical skills and knowledge are important for career success, CEOs regularly cite soft skills as the most desirable professional characteristics. Recent research has found a link between character strength and corporate performance, with CEOs who rank high for characteristics like compassion and integrity also earning a 9.35% return on assets over a two-year period.
Women in business may find that soft skills and emotional intelligence provide a significant competitive advantage. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the global consulting firm Hay Group, women surpass men in 11 of 12 major emotional intelligence characteristics. These characteristics included emotional self-awareness, empathy, conflict resolution, adaptability, and teamwork—all of which are required for effective workplace leadership.
More and more women are now demonstrating their leadership capabilities by taking the entrepreneurial route or starting their own business. Over the last 20 years, the number of women-owned firms in the United States has climbed by 74%, or 1.5 times the national average.
Entrepreneurship provides an avenue for women to close the pay gap and ascend to positions of leadership on their own terms. Running their own business also allows women to cooperate with and recruit other like-minded women, establishing a new generation of female leaders.
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