What’s Stopping Women in the Corporate World?

Barriers Women face

Today, women are heading companies, working in traditionally unconventional jobs, roaming the world on “business trips” and what not. Even after the path has been laid down the number of women in executive level has been moving at a very slow pace. Usually inhibited, women often shy away from asking their due or raise or even a promotion in the corporate ladder. And when they do, they are asked to have “faith in the system” and clearly that has not helped in elevating gender parity in the business world.

A Catalyst report of 2015 shows that at the entry level, about 24 per cent women in comparison to 76 per cent men start working in an organisation. And this percentage starts shrinking to 21 per cent women at a managerial level, 19 per cent at the senior managerial level and finally 14 per cent at an executive level. Women hold only 7.7 per cent of board seats and just 2.7 per cent of board chairs.

One can evidently make out the huge gap and here are a few factors that are stopping women in the corporate sector:

  • Companies flourish because of gender diversity. Studies have proven a connection between those countries that are most successful at closing the gender gap and those that are the most economically competitive. A diverse board brings in better views on the table, eventually helping the business grow as compared to an all-male board. Talking about numbers, companies with most female officers have 34 per cent better financial returns.
  • Surveys tell that there is a lack of opportunities for women in companies which is holding their career growth back. This is a finding by ManpowerGroup who conducted a survey with 20,000 employers in 42 countries and territories in 2016. Other smaller factors are a lack of access to high-visibility roles and strategy for empowerment of women.
  • Companies are not listening to women while drafting policies. It is true that companies are launching policies in order to help women grow, but they are not actually asking women and doing a holistic research on what women actually need. This is the reason that efforts taken to uplift women are not coming to their actual use.

ALSO READ: Gender Diversity in Organizations: What’s The Reality?

  • Women are more comfortable with flexible working hours. But only 28 per cent employers actually acknowledge that.  Today’s ever-so-comfortable times with technology prove that the work can be done from anywhere and with women constantly juggling home and office, they are more concerned about achieving goals rather than the place they are working from to achieve it.
  •   Inherent biases that we all have due to our upbringing and social conditioning leads us to take rather regressive leadership decisions. This is also one major factor stopping women from climbing the leadership ladder in a company. Observing established gender roles in an organisation will direct you to understand why few women run companies.
  • Gender-assigned departments are also a kind of mental conditioning. Most women are found managing Human Resource department while men take care of marketing, tech and IT. And for any company, a department that’s directly related to profit and loss will matter more than any other. Hence, curbing women’s growth because they are not even encouraged to have varying career choices.
  • Many companies hire only men in a certain job as they don’t have the necessary basic amenities to accommodate women. Punita Sinha noted financial advisor from India started off her career in chemical engineering from one of the best institutes in the world. But little did she know that there was no job for her when she went looking for one. Companies only had R&D roles for her.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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