Democracy that excludes half the population from leadership positions will ultimately fail!
The sooner we realise this, the better. It is very important that the gap between the two genders is reduced. It is an essential part of creating the responsive and responsible leadership for this changing world.
The lack of female leaders in an organization is one of the highly discussed challenges, and most of the industry giants have been criticized for not focusing on this as well. This is not only an issue about equality, but it also impacts a company’s bottom line too.
Recent studies have also shown that are gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform and are also proven to be more profitable too. In fact, women are characteristically rated to be more effective leaders than men.
That said, if these facts are so well known, so why do we have so few female leaders? Here’s a list of changes a company must introduce to develop more female leaders: –
1. Reverse Mentoring
Reverse mentoring is also called reciprocal mentoring. Here, companies pair top leaders with female mentors who are being identified as future leaders, and encourage both, the mentor / mentee meet regularly, and learning from the other.
This method not only helps in creating visibility of upcoming female leaders, but also helps in exposing these female leaders to the most strategic work at the company.
2. Flexible work schedules
Everybody has tasks or some aspect of personal life that requires urgent attention like staying back at home with kids or sick parents, completion of errands, etc. A unique and flexible work program is one that offers employees the leverage to stay in their comfort zone / justify their personal life and still be able to deliver.
For e.g.: some companies offer 48 days of remote working a year. Something like that helps greatly in getting out the desired results.
3. Self-care opportunities
Due to high pressures at work, many women (or all employees) ignore health and end up facing physical and mental issues. Offering fitness and self-care facilities like working out during the day, getting massages or facials within the office facilities, give them the opportunity to take care of themselves, and also enables women to find balance and stay healthy.
4. Unbiased and transparent Career Mapping
Creating a structure that develops plans, assignments, promotions, and networking opportunities that are equal for both, men and women with similar capabilities, removes every chance of unfair growth opportunities with women, and it also creates visibility to top leadership too. This also ensures that women are recognized by leadership and for other programs as well.
5. Family Programs
One of the most common difficulties working women face is taking care of their children. Enabling after school programs like science camps, math sessions, and other activities that go beyond day care programs, helps to reduce the difficult choices that women have to take to take care of their families. These innovative offerings enable women to retain senior positions without the worry about their children.
To create more female leaders, it is very important that all companies and society collectively must evolve and create a just and favourable environment that encourages and offers leadership opportunities, without the sacrifice of everything, just like their male counterparts.