Over the last decade much has been spoken about Women Leadership and equal opportunities in the different levels of management and leadership of companies. The global gender parity agenda has been intensified and progress has been made, but the pace is slow and the gap is still significant despite the huge economic, financial and social benefits – significant increase in results, more profitability, more creativity in teams, more innovation, more social justice, just to name a few…
From a recent study by McKinsey – Women in the Workplace 2019, new insights contribute to a clearer picture of what is going on: women do not receive the necessary support for their leadership development since the early stages of their career. Few women are promoted to managers, with the obvious impact it will have on their professional progress and access to top leadership roles in the future.
How can we accelerate the gender parity process in the organizations?
Being a process of profound social and corporate culture transformation, it will benefit from time and everyone’s generosity, men and women. Still, in order for this transformation to take place, it is necessary to change the established beliefs and, even before that, the experiences that model them.
I believe that if we support women, who are already in business context, in the development of their leadership, the transformation will be greater and more impactful.
In the current context of a VUCA world, it is essential to equip women with the skills and tools needed to increase their impact and influence, so that they can lead the continuous transformation and adaptation that are required today.
Nevertheless, women find challenges that are specific to them as (un)conscious bias, a decreasing group of female peers as the career progresses, and few women as role model in top leadership roles.
There are 3 critical areas in the development of women as leaders – self, leadership skills and networking. What can be done?
- In self-development – Coaching can support women to overcome their own limiting beliefs, to discover their personal vision of leadership, and what are the development needs to get there;
- In leadership development – learning and training of specific leadership qualities (formal and informal);
- In networking – development of a network of peers, mentors and even sponsors, so essential to career advancement and progression.
We can and must develop awareness for this issue within companies, from HR to business leaders. Nevertheless the fastest change will come from each women who wants to increase their impact and see their leadership developed and stronger, looking up for the necessary support for their professional progression.
"The only person we are destined to be is the person we decide to be"
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Marta Sousa, Business Director & Associated Coach at Bright Concept Consulting.