Companies are more eager than ever to show they are on board with gender diversity. Yet women are still under-represented at every stage of the career pipeline, particularly in leadership roles.
Creating a workplace environment that encourages gender diversity is an issue some organisations seem all too ready to ignore. They may claim to be making changes, but there is evidence to suggest this may not be the case.
A current report found that there are now just 14 female chief executives among Australia’s top 200 companies – up from 11 in 2017, with women comprising 28% of all senior roles.
All employees want to be respected and feel they have an equal opportunity to grow and advance. All employees want a fair system as well, including men. The right company culture is key to creating an environment that fosters women in leadership. As such, gender diversity needs to be a key element in an organisation’s policies and mission statements. When a company’s culture is fair and inclusive, women, and other diverse groups, have the freedom to thrive.
A recent study found that women tend to set more ambitious goals when they discuss them with other women. Mentoring programs are a powerful solution to assist any one with their career development. They can facilitate leadership skill development and support women to step towards top positions. And as women gain confidence, they are further likely to own their career advancement. They will push themselves to achieve goals and move up the corporate ladder.
Self-awareness is a critical leadership competency. It is essential for self-confidence and self-efficacy. Both of which are vital for developing leadership presence. For example, people interrupt women in the workplace much more than they do men. Yet many women aren’t aware this is happening to them.
Self-awareness is important for mastering the ever-changing work environment for anyone. But for women it is especially critical, because women often face more challenges at work. Challenges they must learn to navigate to succeed.
Ultimately though, if you don’t recruit enough women, then it doesn’t matter what else you do. Therefore, ensure your hiring process is fair. Make sure job advertisements are gender neutral and encourage women to apply. And ask candidates to undertake testing where their gender is unknown, so they are judged solely on the results.
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