While the number of women in the workforce is at the highest that it has ever been, there is still a considerable gender imbalance in strategy job roles. In the global workforce, the participation rate for men is 75 percent compared to only 49 percent in women. This difference is even larger in leadership, management and other power job positions. A 2018 European Union report on equality between men and women shows that in the largest companies in EU member states, women accounted for only 25 percent of the board members. The same report also shows that only a small number of women can earn the highest positions in these companies.
Oddly enough, these statistics do not even show that the number of women’s participation in higher-level positions has greatly increased. Despite their gains in recent years, women remain severely underrepresented in executive, managerial and other leadership job positions. With so many talented women who are qualified to take on leadership and strategy job roles, this valuable human resource is being underused and wasted.
So, why are there fewer women in strategy job roles? The following are what some studies say about the gender gap in the global labor force, particularly in leadership positions.
A report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) indicates that a large number of companies still have a gender preference for select job positions, which is surprising in this day and age. Workplaces in supposedly gender-inclusive companies, the same report notes, still harbor a bias against women, albeit in a subtle way.
Women who are controlling the reins of leadership and management positions are usually the target of several misguided assumptions. These women are often stereotyped as being overly aggressive, devious, self-serving and, of all things, unfair to the opposite sex. A study reveals that women in leadership positions are judged and compared to a male-dominant corporate culture.
Still, in relation to stereotyping, women who hold leadership positions often face a dilemma. They are caught between developing a style of leadership that others are comfortable with and exploring their true potential by following and trusting their own instincts and skills. Women who are struggling with this dilemma give off telltale signs of uncertainty, which often results in a lack of trust in their ability.
Women are viewed as the primary caregivers of their children and, indeed, they usually are. Because of this, companies are reluctant to assign qualified women in leadership and management positions. Some research data support this as it shows that women who manage to attain high-level job positions are either childless or have attained the position prior to starting their families.
Experts and studies point to a host of other possible reasons why there are fewer women in strategy job roles. These include the inherent difficulty in building their social and professional networks and the difficulty in finding mentors and sponsors from the opposite sex.
Studies on the gender gap and inequality suggest that the global corporate world is missing out on the talents that highly qualified women offer. Similar studies originating from different countries show that companies with more women who are holding high-level positions perform better both organizationally and financially.
It is high time for corporations re-evaluate their views about having women in power positions. They also need to participate actively in organized efforts to bridge the gender gap.