The pandemic has shown us the capabilities of women in leadership positions. We have seen strong women leaders show the world what this means for countries and, there are just as many women business leaders that have also paved the way. Most of us care about the gender mix for reasons of equity and fairness. And yet, gender (dis)parity is still a thing being talked about both in businesses and in entrepreneurship, with very slow progress.
Strong and efficient women are a value add in the team. How can you harness their capabilities to not only bring gender parity to your organisation but also take your business to a different level? Here is what these women leaders can do for you and what you can do for them.
A different point of view
From gender diversity to culture, age, and race (and the UAE shows us how this is manifested best), workplace gender diversity should be the goal of every company. It increases productivity, creativity, improves performance, staff retention, and enhances collaboration. According to a study, most gender-diverse companies are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability. Thus, the more businesses focus on recruiting diverse talents, the more likely they are to increase their performance.
Men and women inevitably have different experiences and backgrounds, which shape their approach to business and to challenges. Challenging each other and collaborating with people who think differently can breed creativity and promote the innovative ideas that push organizations forward.
The more diverse a workplace is, the more different ideas come together, thus fuelling gth and aiding in the sustainability of any organisation. Diversity in the workplace is not only a matter of men vs. women in leadership roles. It is a matter of having a combination of both throughout the entire organization.
Women leaders are needed in the 21st century. For women to be more productive and reveal their underlying potential, it is important for organisations to empower them with leadership roles, thus encouraging workplace diversity. Since it is a difficult task, it requires support and cooperation from every person in the organisation.
With the pandemic has also come the realisation that skilled workers are in short supply. Guess what? Women make up a large chunk of the workforce and yet they are NOT used to their full capacity. Because they do not get the right encouragement or the support, many leave the workforce, with businesses losing out on much needed talent that could be honed for something better.
As you identify the right women in your business (or add new ones to your team), mentor them to help them g and thrive in your business. Create an atmosphere and opportunities for these potential women leaders to share their point of view and encourage debate and collaboration with everyone else in the team for a result that would be best for the business.
Identify and foster their key strengths that would make their contribution to the business meaningful.
Make sure that micro-inequities (the impact of women failing to get on the promotion or candidate list, when judged by male standards of acceptable executive behaviour) is another key reason holding women back. A micro-inequity – a list without a female candidate – becomes a macro-inequity when multiplied a hundred fold and eventually leads to a lack of women in senior levels of leadership. Use your mentorship to ensure that these women take full advantage and have equal footing to their male counterparts.
Language and communications
Remove the stamp of “sacrifice”. Women choosing to work outside the home are still tangled up in the language of sacrifice. While there is no talk of a man choosing to ‘sacrifice’ something through being at work, the woman might talk about balancing her innate desire to support her family against job demands. But this is a myth for the modern working woman. Women are very well able to balance both so make sure that this language of sacrifice and emotion is not used against your potential female leader.
Women too are executives first and gender is immaterial.