Gender equality in the working world
While much of the continual change in the modern world of business could be considered highly positive, little could be more important than increased gender equality in the workplace. Women have long fought to be recognised as capable leaders in a historically male dominated world and despite struggling for over a century, many are still prevented from achieving success due to archaic gender stereotypes. Although true equality is yet to materialise, attitudes are changing and businesses are moving in the right direction.
The discussion around women in leadership recently took centre stage, particularly in the UK, when Lord Davies revealed that more woman now preside at FTSE 350 boards than ever before. Even more encouraging, was the report that there are no longer any all-male boards in FTSE 100 companies within the UK, as of 2015.
On the international front, Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson’s nominations in Time’s 100 Most Influential People and Angela Merkel’s crowing as Person of the Year, clearly demonstrate the successes that female leaders can contribute to businesses, governments and indeed society as a whole. But is enough being done to support women looking to advance into leadership?
Lack of support for women?
Not according to LeanIn.Org and McKinsey’s 2015 report Women in the Workplace, which identified that women are still less likely than men to progress to positions in leadership. Additional findings highlighted a lack of support and resources to assist female employees undertake professional development and advance up the corporate ladder.
These are not isolated results, as a recent study by Eudemonia working closely with Skillsoft, revealed that the lack of advancement opportunities for women is primarily due to a failure in business training models to account for time management and flexibility. The paper suggests that on average women have considerably less time than their male counterparts to devote to completing the extra work and training that is required for promotion. Our 2015 Women in Leadership survey adds further support, indicating that over 70% of women feel that their employers fail to offer adequate resources and support to aid their career progression.
Though it’s evident that women require greater support in professional development and career advancement, progress is being made. In 2016 many businesses will feel increased pressure to further tailor training schemes to female employees, increasing flexibility and relevance to support the advancement of women in the leadership hierarchy.