March 18, 2022

Importance of Women in Leadership

March is Women’s History Month – a time set aside to celebrate women for their achievements and contributions to society. Throughout history, women worldwide have had to overcome strife and push the envelope to make their voices heard.

Women in leadership have their own unique perspectives and leadership styles  – and this can lead to more diverse management styles within the workplace.

Challenges Women Face

As far as women have come, the road ahead is still filled with uncertainty. Modern women within business continue to deal with wage gaps, underrepresentation and gender bias. A study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau found that women who worked full-time earned 18 percent less than their male counterparts for the same job.

Women have a more challenging time than men when it comes to work and family balance. The Pew Research Center found that mothers took 11 weeks off work after the birth of a child compared to one week for new fathers.

Traditional family roles are slowly becoming a thing of the past; however, some stereotypes still exist. Women are often seen as homemakers while men take on the breadwinner role. Women are typically left with the responsibilities and stress of raising a family while taking care of the home.

This disparity in responsibilities at home results in women asking for reduced hours or being rejected for a promotion. 27 percent of women reported being treated as if they weren’t committed to their work.

Women in Leadership 

Women still only make up seven percent of top management positions in Fortune 500 companies.

Studies have shown that when women are promoted to positions of power, they often provide instrumental talents that help businesses succeed. Many women have proven to excel in soft skills that are much needed within the business market, such as empathy, conflict management and teamwork. A study conducted by Hay Group, a global consulting firm, found that women surpass men in most emotional intelligence competencies.

Women’s roles and experiences provide valuable insights and perspectives that an all-male leadership team may not see. Broader representation and diversity allow for more expansive innovation within companies and organizations.

“Women belong in spaces where decisions are being made and deserve to be recognized and compensated accordingly. To know and work with women is to know what the studies show: that women are better at helping employees navigate work-life challenges (24% of men compared with 29% of women) and taking action to prevent or manage employee burnout (16% compared with 21%), according to a Women in the Workplace study,” states Apex EmpactHR Consultant and DE&I officer Brooke Salazar, JD.

“Women also spend more time contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts (7% of men compared with 11% of women). Women have multiple and intersecting identities that absolutely shape their experiences in the workplace. I can cite numerous studies confirming that when organizations are more aware of these dynamics, women can more effectively advance equity and inclusion for all women.”

Companies need to take responsibility and provide more leadership opportunities for women to reduce the disparities between male and female workers. Women placed in leadership roles are more likely to recognize when disparity is present, allowing for faster progress in the workplace.

Companies also must implement no-tolerance policies for discrimination and reevaluate their employee benefits and review processes to ensure that all genders are treated equally — with equal opportunities. Employers that purposely strive for inclusivity reap the rewards of new perspectives and innovation in the workplace. Progress is on the horizon when women are in leadership.