Gender diversity should be one of the easiest areas to address within an organisation. Especially as more women than men are pursuing higher education in the UK according to Catalyst. Women make up nearly half of the workforce, this is a large and overlooked talent pool that organisations are missing out on. So why is there such a disparity between men and women in senior and executive roles? A recent report from the World Economic Forum found that 7 out of 10 global health leaders are men and women make up 70% of workers, but only 5% of leadership positions. Several factors can contribute to these disparities from gender biases to inflexible working and complications around childcare.
If an organisation can’t get gender diversity right, how will they be able to deal with more complex diversities? Gender diversity should be a priority in every organisation, with clear accountability in place. Organisations that embrace diversity obtain people from all backgrounds and perspectives; drawing knowledge from different life and work experiences. Diversity gives tremendous value to organisations; creating workforces that are ambitious, engaged, resilient and innovative.
To have the most skilled and talented workforce, a business must attract and retain women as well as men. Women should have the opportunity to rise through the ranks, lead and inspire. Visible role-models in senior positions will attract other talented women. Diversity attracts diversity, it’s good for everyone. Greater diversity creates an inclusive culture within an organisation, leading to stronger retention, productivity and profitability.
Inevitably in my career, I’ve faced a few barriers, biases and limiting beliefs from short-sighted bosses, it’s hard to find a senior woman who hasn’t. What made the difference was the support and sponsorship of inspiring leaders who believed in me. A lot of my work has involved empowering and supporting women back into the workplace after having time off to start a family or otherwise. Women and particularly women of colour, do not always receive the support to navigate career pathways to enable them to do their best work or even sustain their careers. There is more to do to achieve true equality, and for this there needs to be a shift in mindsets and organisations need to evolve their thinking and doing.
Creating the conditions for women and minority groups to work at all levels of leadership and C-suite roles, can only be achieved if organisations are more proactive in supporting, developing and offering a clear career path, to help people who bring diversity of thought and experiences to come forward and play a part in changing the status quo.
I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on leadership and gender diversity this week and the panel’s answers were insightful and inspiring. The consistent theme from all 4 leaders was that people want to be valued, appropriately rewarded and have leaders who are focused on both the social and the economic impact gender diversity and diversity amongst leaders can bring more broadly. We will be sharing a link to the webinar next week.
In the meantime, here at Glassmoon we believe in creating a work environment where you lead by inspiring people, giving them autonomy and freedom to make their own decisions and the opportunity to be their “authentic self” whilst doing great work. If you would like to find out more on how Glassmoon could support your organisation, please get in contact here.