[Metro Journal] The rise and growth of women in the corporate world
It is a yesteryear’s concept that women cannot be part of the corporate world, especially at the leadership levels. Over the years many researches have shown that women not only do well but excel at work at various levels in a business or corporate set-up. This is clearly visible from the work done by all the successful women leaders who have taken their companies, both domestic and international, to greater heights.
What makes women great leaders?
A countless number of studies have shown how the unique characteristics of women such as being able to connect emotionally, her role as a care taker, etc. help her in a corporate environment to build a good rapport with her colleagues as well as her clients. Women can leverage this trait to truly understand the point of view of the clients and by putting to use their people management skills they can bring together a set of skilled people, who not just understand the client specifications but also have the right mind-set to work as a result of an emotionally intelligent leader, and eventually deliver high-quality product to the client.
Growing favorable environment for women to work
Unlike a few years ago, the government and companies have become very open to the idea of seeing capable women as part of work force and be the driving force needed to take companies and nations ahead towards a more advanced state.
The prime factor for any government is to have a stable and growing economy. One of the factors that aid this cause is a strong industry; this, in turn, leads to better foreign direct investment (FDI), favorable environment for new businesses to come up, an elite name for the nation as a hub for businesses.
By providing women with opportunities to build a career by way of policies such as equal pay for all, maternity leaves to deal with childbirth and child care, etc. the governments are trying to make sure the large part of their population gets the chance they deserve. Policies such as The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the USA, The Small Business Act for Europe, Labour legislations in Hong Kong that govern both men and women, and so on are ways by which governments are building conducive place for women to be at work.
Companies see the benefits of having women in their workforce and are attuning their policies to give women opportunities to excel while allowing them to keep a balance between their personal and professional life. Policies such as work from home, improved maternity leaves, child care facilities, etc. give a boost to women and assure them that their efforts are valued and they are cared for by their company.
Surge in women entrepreneurs
Year after year more and more women are seen in the business set-up, leading various companies, being board members and making decisions for the companies, setting a trend in the business world, etc. all this even after being a part of the male-driven territory. In the recent times, increasing number of women are feeling confident enough to transform their dreams into reality and materialize their dream. Women entrepreneurs such as Sara Treleaven Blakely founder of Spanx, Marvell Technology’s Weili Dai, and Kiran Mazumdar of Biocon are just a few examples of women entrepreneurs who have made their mark in the male-dominated business world.
Women at C-level proving their caliber
For a business to be successful the foremost thing to have in place is a strong top management team. Women are known to be better communicators and good at building relationships, this is a big plus point for them in a harsh environment such as a corporate. Successful women at C-levels such as Indra Nooyi CEO of PepsiCo, Mary Barra of General Motors, Mou Jinxiang former Chairman of Lianhe Chemical Technology, have time and again proven that women at powerful position are only better for the financial position of companies.
Research done by a global talent management company, Development Dimensions International, suggests a whopping 87% increase in performance of companies with higher rate of women in board members as compared to those companies who had fewer women.
Challenges faced by women in a corporate environment
Recent years has seen many positive changes in the work environment for women, making it a tad bit easier for them to sustain in this space. But it is a fact that there is a long way to go for women to achieve and sustain their true potential at the same time balancing between their personal and professional roles.
Even today women are looked at as a burden especially those in their 30s as they are usually seen as ones who might go on long maternity leaves, not many have the open mind to look at women as great leaders; women are always looked at with suspicion as far as challenging roles are concerned. The gender pay gap is still a big issue; this is true not only between men and women but also between women of color, race, and ethnicity making gender pay gap a complex issue.
Another common challenge faced by women at workplace is harassment. In the US, as per a survey over 37% women reported to being harassed at work. These are only a few challenges out of the dozens that women have to deal with to make an impression in their field, and a long way for organization to go to create a conducive environment for women to work.
What are the benefits of having a good mix of women at every level in a business realm?
- Are better at communication
- Are good at relationship building
- Are perceived as honest leaders and hence can be trusted
- Are better collaborators
- Are great mentors
All these qualities make women a critical element and a must-have member at all the levels in an organization for the betterment of the women, organization and the nation.