“Although women make up more than half of the labor force in the United States, according to the U.S. Census of 2010, they are underrepresented in leadership roles at all levels,” according to Eytan Hirsch. Incorporating women into leadership roles can increase overall performance of the company. According to Hirsch, “…companies with significant numbers of women in leadership roles outperform those with fewer female leaders.”
Increasing the number of women in leadership roles allows for different perspectives on how to manage the business because women think about business differently than men. Having different perspectives is beneficial because it can increase the innovation, creativity, and longevity of the business.
However, women must be cautious as they climb the corporate ladder that their views are being taken seriously. They obviously will have to overcome hurdles to get into a higher management position, such as proving that they are the right candidate, proving their ability to keep up with their male coworkers, and proving that they have the right mindset to advance to that role. Some of the perceived barriers, according to Hirsch, include:
- The lack of a mentor or executive sponsor
- An absence of female role models
- A belief that women in the company have not been in leadership roles long enough
The shift in the role women take in the home has changed drastically in the last few years. Forty percent of women in today’s workforce are also mothers, and nearly two-thirds of working mothers are either co-breadwinners, or primary breadwinners for their family, according to Hirsch. With this information in mind, companies must understand that there needs to be a dynamic change in the role women play in business, especially in leadership roles. According to Hirsch, “The number of women as primary breadwinners and co-breadwinners, combined with their overwhelming purchasing power, makes them an economic force to be reckoned with.” As a working mother, and the sole breadwinner for my family at this moment, I couldn’t agree more!
Does your company promote leadership advancement for women, or are they overly cautious about promoting or hiring in women into leadership roles? Why do you think that is?