Women empowerment has a long way to go in the workplace as they continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles despite evidence that gender equality in the workplace is good for business. They make up roughly half of the world population but hold only 28% of the managerial positions, which has remained consistent since 1995. A majority of organizations say advancing women into leadership roles is not a formal business priority. Social movements such as “Me Too,” founded by Tarana Burke, brought about a revolution to amplify women’s voices.
The road to the glass ceiling is more extended than anticipated due to deeply rooted social, psychological, cultural, and organizational factors hindering the growth of women. Unfortunately, the number of women in leadership is growing too slowly. Preconceived notions about women generally work in favor of their male counterparts. Women are perceived as caring, non-confrontational, and nurturing, characteristics that are typically considered undesirable in the corporate world, whereas men are seen as competitive and autonomous. This rampant discrimination adversely impacts women’s vertical growth in the corporate sector, further leading to the gender pay gap.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right that is essential to achieving peaceful societies and promoting sustainable development. Worldwide, women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men. In fact, women hold only 18 percent of senior leadership positions among 2,300 organizations surveyed worldwide. This means men occupy approximately 82 percent of the most influential roles in today’s corporate world. In a sad state of affairs, it has been estimated that it could take more than 50 years to close this gap.
Awareness and open dialogue have initiated gender sensitization in the workplace, and adequate steps are being taken to improve gender equality. Gender sensitivity training and stricter policies against discrimination are being implemented.
In order to pave the way, key community members such as parents, teachers, and non-profit leaders, need to create more opportunities for female leadership. Recent years have seen a drastic rise in women in entrepreneurial roles, with women-led and women-powered companies taking center stage. While this is admittedly a small percentage, it does show that we can push for a re-evaluation of the perception of women’s roles in society. There needs to first be a large-scale unlearning of ideas and long-held beliefs. This can only be achieved through continued education and awareness building.
Women’s economic and political empowerment, but they still own 1% of the world’s wealth. Gender inclusiveness needs men to be equal participants in the process, as 95% of the world’s companies are run by them. Sheryl Sandberg launched her #MentorHer campaign to encourage men to mentor women in the workforce. This mentoring will aid women in career development and help conquer the under-representation of women in senior roles. #MentorHer has the backing of more than 38 prominent leaders and CEOs, including Netflix’s Reed Hastings.
Furthermore, conducting a pay audit to know if male and female employees receive equal payments will ensure equal employment opportunities for all. Gender inequality training must also be made mandatory at least once a year. That way, the info is at the forefront of employees’ minds, reflecting them in their actions. Also, promoting a culture in the workplace where employees feel appreciated because of their talent and performance is imperative in the present-day corporate world. Gender equality should be an aspect of the organizational culture.
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