Unfortunately, gender-based discrimination still remains a challenge that many women confront, especially in the workplace. Across the world, women only account for 24 percent of senior leadership roles, with more than a third of global companies having no female senior management at all. In fact, on the Fortune 500 list of companies, female CEOs only represent 4.2 percent of business leaders.
These facts should be concerning to company executives with their eyes on the bottom line. Business Insider reports women actually make more effective leaders than men. Women are seen as natural multitaskers, able to handle complex schedules and are also viewed as more open to feedback and constructive criticism than their male counterparts.
Promoting women to positions of power and authority in your company can benefit the entire corporation and serve as a model for other ambitious women to follow, so how exactly can companies encourage female leadership from within?
1. Mentor And Support Young Women
Like so many initiatives that seek change, it’s wise to start with the future of the company. Start mentorship training programs matching young female workers with more experienced members of staff. Allow them to shadow important meetings and take part in discussions and negotiations.
2. Promote Education And Training
You can show your team, especially female members of staff, that you support their ambitions and career development by investing in their education. Many MBA courses now offer online options that let prospective students combine practical work experience with study. Some online MBA programs even offer GMAT waivers in exchange for verifiable work experience, saving both the student and company time and money.
3. Offer Perks And Benefits
Keeping staff happy and healthy enables workers to balance their career with their home-life responsibilities. By offering fair maternity and sick leave, flexible scheduling and even gym facilities, companies can help women to find balance.
4. Set Up Support Groups
Setting up buddy systems or support networks where women can discuss the challenges of female leadership helps women to stay in positions of power. Formal meetups within the workplace are important, but meeting over coffee and after-hour drinks are a good way to start.
5.Have A Proactive Recruitment Strategy
Research shows that women are often intimidated by job descriptions and will not apply for a job unless they meet all of the criteria, whereas men will have a much more flexible attitude toward fulfilling the minimum requirements described. You can navigate this problem by promoting from within your company, recognizing and nurturing talent rather than waiting for suitable women to apply to a vacancy.
Diversity is the key to developing creative and successful teams. Change and improvement, after all, cannot happen in a vacuum or a homogenized environment. This is why it is vital that women take their seat at the table and assume leadership roles in companies in every industry, including yours.
Lindsey Shindler is a digital PR guru at 2U, Inc., where she works in the business, tech, law, and government verticals.