Act now to get more women in top roles

Posted by VERCIDA on Mar 18, 2019 10:50:00 AM
VERCIDA

Gender balanced leadership teams make better decisions, but they also demonstrate a company’s commitment to progressive values. Although great advances have been made in gender equality, there’s still some hard work to be done. Businesses can play a key role in supporting women to achieve prominent leadership roles.

Out of 121 government ministers (including the cabinet, whips, lords and 13 unpaid positions) 17% are women. Political leaders are not yet setting benchmarks for equality between men and woman. By contrast, steady progress has been shown within the top FTSE 100 companies in the area of gender equality. Woman’s board representation has risen from 11% of the company in 2007 to a slightly more respectable 28% in 2017.

The government is aware of the important leadership role played by business in encouraging women onto boards. To aid employers, it’s launching initiatives that attempt to improve conditions for women with aspirations to achieve top positions.

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How can businesses promote gender equality?

The ‘Men As Change Agents’ (MACA) initiative invites business leaders to:

  • Endorse the ‘Hampton Alexander Challenge’ that requires 33% of executive and senior business leaders to be women by 2020.
  • Mentor between 1-3 women in their organisations who show potential to achieve an executive role within three years.
  • Become a ‘change agent’ to help private and public organisations to achieve better gender balance.

Some organisations still have what their employees perceive as impenetrable macho culture. Confident leadership can help change the working environment around. Inclusive conversations with employees can highlight:

  • Inappropriate emphasis in the workplace on homosocial bonding activities e.g. football, gaming, drinking.
  • Bullying or negative comments made against colleagues judged to be ‘weak’ or ‘vulnerable’.
  • Unfair treatment of female or non-cisgender partners.
  • The importance of a responsible attitude to parenting.

The best workplace cultures embrace women’s strengths

It’s also important to understand and acknowledge the way cultural factors may affect women’s behaviour in the work place. Women are less likely than men to recognise their own talents, or to speak of them to others. Good employers support women to recognise and assert their strengths.

The Survey Winning the Fight for Female Talent found women felt employers are increasingly biased in favour of male candidates. The 2015 report highlights the fact that female talent is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity in the workplace. Successful companies set in place strategies to attract the brightest and best women to their company.

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Topics: Gender Diversity, Women, Women's Initiatives, Inclusion