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More companies are now realizing the lack of female representation in leadership positions, and, though slow, progress is being made and we could be on the brink of a new era with female-led companies.
Did you know that only 44 female CEOs are in Fortune 500 companies? It is unfortunate as it only constitutes 4.8% of the companies. Although this number is slightly up from 41 in the previous year, it is still not enough to battle the threat of gender inequality in workplaces, especially in leadership roles.
However, more companies are realizing the lack of female representation in leadership positions. So though slow, progress is being made on this issue, and we could be on the brink of a new era with female-led companies.
General Motors, The Hershey Company, and Best Buy Co., Inc. are setting the pace as the top female-led work institutions. The results? Positive transformation that more are recognizing and hoping to incorporate.
The information explores the transformative effects that female leaders can have on a business. But first, a background on women's experiences in male-dominated workplaces.
A male-dominated workplace is any occupation that has 25% or fewer women. Unfortunately, it is the reality of many companies in Africa and the rest of the world. Studies show that women's presence in the labor force has always been less than men's. Even with steady improvements, most occupations and workplaces remain male-dominated.
This gender gap is highly pronounced in North Africa, where males comprise 69.2% while females take 39.2%. In sub-Saharan Africa, the numbers are better but also lack balance, with males taking 70.4% and females 58.8%.
Unfortunately, male-dominated workplaces come with multiple disadvantages. These setups reinforce harmful stereotypes and inflict women with additional challenges. This, unfortunately, makes it harder for women to excel in the workforce and may even force females to give up their positions. In the long run, these effects contribute to the gender inequality issue in the workplace.
Some of the barriers females face in male-dominated careers include the following:
Women working in the office are sometimes treated as secretaries, 'office mothers,' and housekeepers. They are expected to perform tasks such as preparing tea for office meetings or cleaning up breakrooms, tasks that anyone in the office can perform.
The gender pay gap is a problem that is sadly holding steady. It can be attributed to multiple factors, including the stereotype that women do not need a lot of finances since they are less likely to be family breadwinners.
Studies show that 40 to 80% of women experience sexual harassment by men in the workplace.
The limited population of women in offices can sometimes lead to alienation. Women can be excluded from office activities and even after-work events, which often strengthen the bond between coworkers. It also means that females in these setups have no voice, so their issues remain unheard and unaddressed.
The scarcity of women in the workplace is even worse regarding leadership. The problem can be explained by factors such as:
Many stereotypes against women limit their access to leadership roles at work. Motherhood is one such issue where many believe that children require full-time caregivers, and it must be the mother.
Some employers view women as a potential setback once they have children. They believe it will make them less driven and unavailable, thus incapable of improving the business. Thus, employers keep them out of leadership positions.
Some women in the workplace share this view and can opt out of management or leadership. But it is an outdated stereotype, as proven by the many female CEOs who are also moms. They successfully juggle work and motherhood, proving that becoming a parent is not a setback.
There is an assumption that t women lack confidence in the workplace. The assumption suggests that women have trouble speaking up for themselves, asking for promotions, better pay, etc.
It is important to note that women do not lack confidence in the workplace. This assumption is false as it is an incorrect interpretation of external appearances. Women are confident in many unique ways.
However, the workplace has an unfair view of confidence. When many people think of confidence, they think of the outspokenness and commanding of attention often seen in male employees.
But this is just one way to exude confidence, as some people prefer a quiet and calculated approach to taking charge. This is also confidence and should be recognized as such.
More women take the quieter approach, perhaps knowing that being outspoken and loud about ideas will foster more resistance and less cooperation. It is not uncommon to find outspoken women in the office termed as 'bossy.'
Everyone in the workplace should realize that being quiet and calculated is a form of being confident and should be respected equally.
Companies making changes and betting on women for leadership discover the benefits of a female-driven workforce. There are many success stories of females taking charge of the workplace and how they differ from men in charge.
These differences stand out in female leaders' changes to workplace norms to better employees and the bottom line. They are characterized by the following:
Women in leadership positions at work are redefining the work-life balance. Battling the prejudice against women being unable to be mothers while sustaining high-leadership positions demands a good balance.
And women in leadership have found ways to adequately retain time for themselves while pushing the company towards achieving goals. Some have attributed it to setting realistic goals and realizing that working too much could lead to burnout.
Having been on the receiving end of unfriendly policies, women in leadership are transforming policies to encourage better employee retention and satisfaction, plus more female employees.
Female leaders have a more empathetic approach that leads them to make policies that better care for employee needs while addressing differences and special circumstances.
The empathy-driven approach is functional, as studies show that empathetic leaders foster better productivity among team members and are more innovative.
So not only do these friendly employee policies help with retention, but they also improve the company's bottom line.
Studies show that more people lean towards working for female-led companies than male-led companies. The majority agree that female leaders are more purpose-driven.
And it makes sense since women-led companies are better for employees, thus, are more likely to have an easier time with recruitment, onboarding, training, and retaining employees.
Women-led companies see greater performance, better employee engagement, offer better job flexibility, a better understanding of the company mission and strategy, and better inspiration towards employees.
Simply by being successful leaders in businesses, female leaders inspire and give hope to females with the potential to be leaders in the company.
Research shows that 71% of men and women are likelier to think they can achieve a leadership position by having a woman in charge or a leadership position within the company.
So women in leadership are transforming workplaces by encouraging other women to seek opportunities for career advancement, break stereotypes, and take on leadership roles with the determination to do well.
The future is female. Managers that want to stay relevant in the coming years need to recognize the potential of female employees. This means more recruitment, better policies, and more chances for women to take charge. Workpay can help you with these processes–get in touch to learn more.
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