When Women Lead – VOL 1
You will not reach far in this job because you do not drink with the boys. These words were directed to me by my team leader after I declined an invitation to join the team for an afterwork happy hour. I was the only female on this team and statements like these were quite frequent. I was on an overseas assignment on behalf of the United Nations. I had excused myself for the night, because I was exhausted, plus I had to call home to check up on my family, som
ething I do every night.
Women face obstacles to professional mobility every day. Only 2 per cent of S&P 500 CEOs are female,1 however, having more women in management and senior leadership positions increases performance across organisations.
ly, companies that practice gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies who do not —up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014.2
In 2020, during the heights of the COVID pandemic, women continued to provide value to organisations. Another report found that companies who have more than 33 per cent female executives, have a net profit margin over ten times greater than those companies with no women at this level.3
The evidence overwhelmingly supports the view that women leaders bring tremendous value to their organisation, nevertheless, women continue to face barriers, which can inhibit career progress and mobility.
Organisations must support women to move into leadership roles. Some recommendations are:
- Provide authentic mentors and role models
- Nurture and promote leadership qualities in young adults from an early age
- Provide opportunities for personal development, including leadership development training and coaching
Author: Sherrone Blake Lobban
Director, Women in Leadership program
This is the first in a multi-part series on What Happens When Women Lead. We hope to energize the discussion around women leadership globally.