WHY DO WE NEED WOMEN LEADERS
Embracing diversity is no longer a feminist notion but it’s the best thing for business as well. Realty+ highlights the need of women in C-suites and brings perspectives of some of the successful women leaders of Indian real estate, design and building industry.
TEXT: SAPNA SRIVASTAVA
Most of us tend to talk of the changes required in organizations and society but, at the same time, women themselves too need to be more vocal about their ambitions to progress into senior management positions. Many also contend that women’s lack of aspiration for career advancement is due to the differences in biological wiring. However, the latest research from Tel-Aviv University indicates that male and female brains are the same, suggesting cultural biases (not biological inclinations) as the reason.
Globally human resources far outweighs all other departments for female leadership, while the finance top positions has twice as many female appointees as any other role. In real estate, building & construction industry, there may be more number of women today than ever, but they are still in minority at the leadership level.
NEED FOR GENDER DIVERSITY
Men and women see risks and opportunities differently, which provides a diversity of thinking. Thus, gender diversity in firms’ decision-making teams provides a more balanced approach. Diversity is beneficial to enhance creativity and innovation. The more perspectives, the more creative solutions, the better problem solving abilities; multiple perspectives aid an organisation in holistic growth. Women bring their strengths of higher emotional quotient, weighing more options and taking a broader perspective to the organisation.
Moreover, women in leadership roles bring empathy, acumen and determination to succeed and they make more loyal employees, which is highly significant in terms of retaining talent for high-powered jobs. Furthermore, women are more effective at engaging people better which makes them a natural fit for leading teams.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
The process of eliminating entry barriers and enhancing work culture have already begun. Creating a culture that promotes equity in an open environment, instead of labelling women and their work is essential.
Crucial to increase women’s representation at top levels is accommodating their career lifecycle and creating organizational policies, conducive to women’s joining and re-joining the profession. Also, women entrepreneurs can benefit from mentoring, training programmes and access to networking platforms.
“The best way to get more women into leadership roles is to recruit more women in the first place. Targeted recruiting may address the gender gap better than regular hiring practices. Another way to avoid gender-bias in the recruiting stage is to remove names & gender columns from the applications.”
5 CHALLENGES FOR WOMEN PROFESSIONALS
Challenge – 1 – Wage Inequity
Women in India earn 19% less than men, according to the latest Monster Salary Index survey. While there is no gender pay gap in semi-skilled work, the gap touches 20% for skilled women and 30% for highly skilled occupations and for more years of experience is highest at 15% in favour of men.
Challenge – 2 – Limited Leadership Roles
India ranks fifth lowest in having women in leadership roles that stood at 20% last year as per global survey by Grant Thornton. The survey also reveals that only 7% of the senior management (CEO/ Managing Director) roles were held by women.
Challenge – 3 – Career Progression
The prominent barriers to women’s career advancement are lack of mentoring, networking & up-skilling opportunities, absence of a clear career path and exclusion from informal male-dominated networks as per Randstad India.
Challenge – 4 – Gender Discrimination
The ‘Women of India Inc’ survey 2019 showed that the most notable form of discrimination is perception that women are less serious about work once they are married and after maternity they will quit. (47%). About 46% women believe that there is a notion at workplace that women can’t put the same number of hours as men.
Challenge – 5 – Personal Safety
Nearly 86% women consider safety as a key parameter while choosing a job and close to 50% women find night shift not a preferable option as per Monster.com. Inappropriate advances from male colleagues & clients and extra precaution required for field jobs are real concerns for women.