women leadership quandary

I’m often interviewed and asked about successful women in the workplace and my views on being one of the few to break the glass ceiling in the technology sector. 

My response has always been that I never saw a glass ceiling, so I didn’t give myself an excuse not to break through it.

What research reveals

However, various articles and statistics about women in leadership roles in the United States do prove that there is a disparity of women leaders in the workplace. Currently, the Fortune 500 is led by 32 female CEOs, a record high.

In a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 34 percent of respondents surveyed believe that male executives are better than women executives at assuming risk. Moreover, when asked about specific industries women could support, a significant portion felt that men would do a better job leading technology, finance, and oil and gas companies, whereas women would be strongest at running retail and food companies.

Although that survey is full of traditional stereotyping of women, you still need to ask yourself: “Why aren’t more women promoted into the CEO position, but rather held back?”

Historically, it seems that women do not have the consistent high-ranking executive sponsorship who campaign for their advancement. Why is this? 

As a sex, women represent more than half the population, a group that’s more than ready to prove themselves in senior levels in the workplace and to have the opportunity to earn equal pay for the same job. 

Although women can keep up with the rigorous pace and workload at the office, maybe they can’t keep up with the social politics of the perceived “Good Old Boys Club.”  

Because of the lack of women in leadership roles combined with the desire for career progression, women’s perceived need of survival overtakes their personality or natural disposition to be a leader.

The quandary

Typically, in these scenarios, women play down their strengths in an attempt to over-compensate for not being equal or the same to men. Throughout my career, I’ve heard more commentary about a woman’s disposition in a meeting or board room than I ever heard about a man’s.

Women are left in a quandary, discussed, judged, and evaluated every time they open their mouths. They’re are considered harsh and manlike if they speak up to their peers or a weak follower if they don’t.   

Recent studies show that a diversified executive team will produce up to 34 percent more revenue to a corporation than an executive team filled with the same sex.

Corporations and stockholders are beginning to recognize the need for more sex and gender balance within companies, which is leading them to adapt policies that deviate from the perceived “Good Old Boys” norms and create an environment that’s friendlier to all minorities.

A call to action

With the backing of corporate stockholders, women now have an opportunity to take accountability and remain true to themselves while engaging with their male peers.

Women will only succeed if they demonstrate the will and power to not act like a man, but to leverage their natural gifts of honesty, teamwork, compassion, and persuasion.

About today’s guest contributor

Nicole McMackin is president of Irvine Technology Corporation, a firm that specializes in information technology solutions and staffing. She has an established career in sales and management, emphasizing account ownership within Fortune 300 organizations.

Image credit (before quote added): Pixabay

 

 

 

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