Written by
Claire Cusack

Published
08 Mar 2017

Women in leadership for the future

08 Mar 2017 • by Claire Cusack

The future needs more women

With only 21 women at the helm of fortune 500 Companies we have to encourage the gender quota debate whilst at the same time no woman wants to be made feel that she is the ‘token’ woman on the board.  

To address the issue of poor female representation in leadership positions, organisations need to take a step back and ask themselves do we have a correct quota in leadership roles? Do our policies allow women to have fair and equal opportunities for promotion and development? Sheryl Sandberg CEO of Facebook sums up the effect woman have on an organisation; “Diverse teams make better decisions…we are building products and services that people of very diverse backgrounds will use and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people that use our products.”
  
This strong tone from the top is necessary and senior leaders need to support and appreciate the importance of having a gender balance in their top team and succession pipelines. It needs to be authentic and we need shifts in traditional attitudes to the workplace, including how and where we work, in order for our workplaces to reflect equal opportunities. Organisations should support mentoring for junior female staff from female role models in the business, in order for them to believe and achieve their full potential, and enable role models to offer unique insights and support to female colleagues. 

Diversity in the workplace

 

Organisations should support mentoring for junior female staff from female role models in the business, in order for them to believe and achieve their full potential, and enable role models to offer unique insights and support to female colleagues. 

I am proud to work for Allianz Worldwide Care which is committed to diversity and career development for women. The company has pledged that the percentage of women in the talent pool for top management will rise to 30 per cent by 2018. Allianz Worldwide Care has been working on putting a corresponding framework in place, adjusting HR processes and implementing targeted measures since as far back as 2008. Besides measures to allow employees to strike a better balance between work and family life, these schemes range from a global talent management initiative featuring sponsorship and mentoring programmes to training sessions on ‘unconscious bias’. These initiatives raise awareness, particularly amongst managers, of unconscious prejudices that might arise in job interviews and employee appraisals.

Women in leadership roles don’t necessarily perform better than male counterparts, however, a culture of inclusivity leads to better performance.

In the future there will be no women leaders, just leaders.