2020: The rise of female leaders in business

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Suhail Hadouth, Content Executive at WMG, analyses the rise of female leaders in business

In what was once a very male-dominated world, women are continuing to rise year on year into top and mid-level leadership positions. Often adding a different thought process or steer on a situation, having diversity in these high-level positions is crucial for businesses to succeed and achieve growth.

Historically, entire fields such as PR and IT have been largely controlled by male business leaders. And, although there have been calls for a shift in the way the higher tiers of businesses are run, it’s shocking to learn that despite 85% of public relations experts being women, only 59% hold management positions, and a meer 30% of global PR agencies are run by women.

How has the position of women in business evolved?

In the early years, women were known to only go into nurturing and supportive roles such as teachers and nurses. But, with the feminist movement, equal opportunities legislation and the ever-growing service industries, women are beginning to enter a much broader range of work opportunities.

Nowadays we see many women strive to take on the roles that were once solely occupied by men. And, with the rise of group forums, collectives and organisations such as Women In Tech, it’s easy to see why more women feel confident and empowered enough to take on these once male-dominated sectors.

The economist argued back in 2009, that increasing the number of women in a company can boost a countries GDP by as much as up to 21%, and female entrepreneurs and business owners are on the increase. According to more recent statistics, in 2019 the number of countries where the highest position of executive power was held by a woman was at an all-time high.

What challenges do women still face?

All business owners face challenges, from keeping investors happy, maintaining cash flow and consistent growth. Yet, women continue to face additional and unique obstacles they need to overcome, simply because of their gender.

Women who work and have a family, face increasing demands on their time, energy and resources; even more so if there are commitments with school, sickness and childcare. And, although more men are opting to stay at home to raise their families, they’re seemingly still not facing the same pressures as women if they’re looking to return to work.

Each year companies must supply their statistics around the gender pay gap for all their employees. Although the gap for full-time employees has gradually been decreasing since 1997, many well-know businesses were called to question a couple of years ago, as it became transparent that many weren’t doing everything they could to close the gap.

In April 2019, the Government reported that the gender pay gap for full-time employees was 8.9% and part-time at -3.1%, reflecting the fact that part-time workers tend to earn less than full-time workers and women are more likely to work part-time.

Why a high level female presence is important

Women often have life skills and natural abilities that are useful in business. More often than not they’re great at networking and posess the skills needed for negotiating. Easily able to multitask, women in business who are also mothers, are often good at delegating and budgeting, skills they use in family life.

Also also to create strong support networks and regularly learning new ways to balance work and life effectively, female leaders in business will continue to rise and develop, often pushing boundaries and obstacles out of their way. Companies across the globe should continue to champion women in business and help them thrive.

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