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Promoting Gender Diversity in Leadership Roles

Whatever progress women have made in acquiring leadership roles in their workplace is nothing but a small step toward gender diversity. And when the question of women in leadership roles arises, we are even more behind. There is a glass ceiling that stops the growth of women. We unknowingly create a biased mindset when we think ensuring gender diversity in the workplace or leadership roles is an act of favour for the women we work with. That is not the case. We need to ensure gender diversity not only because we want women to feel empowered, we need gender diversity in leadership roles because that is beneficial for the overall well-being of our brand, organisation, business, or workplace. If you are wondering how it is possible, I will discuss it in this article. I will also delve into other facets to emphasise the need for gender diversity in leadership roles and how to achieve this goal. But first, let me shed some light on what gender diversity is.

Gender diversity is a term used to describe a fair, equitable representation of all genders within an organisation.

Gender diversity in leadership roles is a reality in a few organisations, and the benefits can not be ignored. Companies are becoming more adept at identifying and eliminating potential barriers that would previously have hindered talented women from bagging positions in a company. However, there is still a sizable gender diversity gap, particularly regarding leadership positions. In order to encourage more and more companies to be open to the idea of having female leaders, we need to discuss the benefits that come with it.

Companies that encourage women to join their leadership positions have a wider talent pool with their excellent qualities. Tapping into these potential candidates can make a massive difference in the company’s productivity.

Having a female leader means they will weigh in with their different perspectives. A workplace can benefit from this as the different points of view and approaches of female leaders come from different life experiences. A wide variety of viewpoints can encourage creativity and innovation and assist businesses in identifying and seizing new possibilities. It may also inspire businesses to question gender norms.

Enhanced collaboration is another benefit. Female leaders in teams can facilitate better teamwork and increase group collaboration. Women are more adept at interpreting nonverbal clues, according to researchers. Groups will gain from this when working under a female leader.

You will get a better reflection of your customers if you have female leaders in your company. Seeing women in leading positions can generate positive feelings—for instance, a sense of trust among male and female customers but predominantly female. Female leaders can identify customers’ unique needs and expectations from all walks of life.

The organisation’s success will benefit long after closing the talent gap. But to do that, it takes more than just pointing out unintentional biases, spotting hidden stereotypes and common microaggressions. Companies must also keep upholding beliefs on “gender and racial equality.”

Many obstacles women face prevent them from taking on leadership roles. Deep-rooted societal, physical, and psychological barriers keep women from seeking top positions and from being hired by businesses. This results in women needing more confidence, so they do not apply in the first place. There are also unconscious biases among those in charge of hiring. It is almost a given that there will need to be more qualified women to fill executive and C-suite leadership positions in the future due to the long-term talent gap brought on by the inability to advance women into entry- and mid-level management positions.

Strategies are needed for increasing gender diversity in leadership roles.

Here are some effective strategies to encourage more women leaders to take up their responsibilities confidently. To increase the number of women in leadership roles, companies and organisations must take proactive steps to address the barriers preventing women from advancing to leadership roles.

The first and foremost step a company can take is to make the working hour flexible, not just for female leaders but also for male leaders. Flexible working hours will assist women in successfully navigating their life with the “second shift, ” the work they do after returning home. This will lead to better work-life balance. A balanced work-life schedule will then lead to more opportunities for women to take up leadership roles.

Every company needs to have a clear job performance evaluation framework. According to Women in the Workplace 2018, women are less likely to get credit for successes and more likely to take criticism for failures. This is a severe impediment for them.

Gender analysis of corporate HR data is required. While many businesses track pay and other HR data by race or gender, the number of companies taking this measure is still relatively low. Even at the start of their careers, women tend to make less money than men, a trend that only gets worse throughout their careers.

A wrong first impression can introduce biases into the hiring process. Interview teams should learn to identify these recruiting biases and fairly evaluate candidates according to a predetermined set of criteria to overcome them. Candidates from underrepresented groups will benefit from a diverse interview panel.

Increasing gender diversity in leadership positions also requires addressing the gender wage gap. Women are frequently paid less than males for the same job, which can limit their chances of moving up the corporate ladder. Companies can make efforts to ensure that women are promoted without facing obstacles based on gender and that they are paid fairly and equally for their job.

Mentorship and sponsorship have always been essential in encouraging women to aim for leadership roles.

Aspiring women leaders need to learn the necessary skills. Here, female mentors play a crucial role in assisting the next generation. Both male and female mentors can share the proper and relevant advice, stories, and answers as important and practical tools to navigate this situation. Positive mentoring can lead to higher pay, job satisfaction, institutional loyalty, and productivity. They can also be linked to better opportunities and success in career progression. Through mentoring, women can openly discuss their aspirations and receive advice on how to become future leaders.

A potent instrument for giving women the chance to succeed in their careers is sponsorship. A sponsor sees your potential and is ready to use their position of authority and promote your career, giving you access to essential networks and resources. With the backing of a sponsor, women can increase their visibility and exposure to senior leaders while also getting support in navigating the corporate environment. Numerous businesses have implemented sponsorship programmes. These programmes frequently match sponsors and protégés based on their professional objectives, interests, and strengths. Women can achieve new career heights with the appropriate sponsorship to assist them.

Representation can influence policy. Despite the low proportion of women in senior positions, there is hope for the future if gender diversity becomes more and more common. Every level of an organisation’s leadership must continuously support policies that advance gender equity at all levels. Without urgent and vital action, the existing system will continue obstructing women’s ability to lead and thrive. Organisations will be deprived of the advantages and triumphs of embracing genuine diversity at the top.

Author- Tahia Afra Jannati

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