continue to enter the workforce in record numbers. In fact, almost
47% of the workforce is comprised of women. Yet, despite this
fact, very few women hold the top slots.
one stroll past the executive suite in your organization and there
will probably be a noticeable lack of women to be found, particularly
if you exclude the support staff. Perhaps you never took the time
to consider this or to even ask the question, but given the number
of women in the workforce, does it seem rather odd that there
aren't more women ensconced in the executive suites in business?
I think so.
talked with many women leaders to try to identify the barriers
that preclude more women from reaching the corner office. Here's
what I've learned.
life-balance and family tradeoffs continue to plague women who
want to build successful careers. As has long been the case, the
bulk of family and household responsibilities still fall on women's
shoulders. How each woman, her family, and her place of employment
choose to manage and negotiate around this issue will clearly
have an impact on a woman's ability to take advantage of those
business opportunities that lead to long-term personal and professional
surprising deterrent is the perception that women lack key business
credentials. As a woman with an MBA under her belt and an MA on
the way, this one makes me chafe a little. However, having the
right business credentials means more than having the right degree.
Rather, it means being able to demonstrate in measurable ways
a clear understanding of those business practices and the financial
aspects that are important for an organizations success. This
is what is commonly referred to as business acumen. Women don't
lack key business credentials, they just need to do a better job
of getting the credit and recognition for using them.
women continue to lack representation at senior levels simply
because they just don't have visible positions. Many women typically
follow career paths that lead them into the more traditional female
roles such as marketing or operations. The lack of coveted profit
and loss responsibility will often preclude them from consideration
when the top jobs do become available.
need to make the case for developing women leaders within their
organizations. They must stop overlooking the fact that women
have good instincts about business and that they are good managers,
delegators, collaborators, and team players. Since most businesses
are built on relationships, these are crucial assets to an organizations
there are other reasons why organizations should focus on developing
more women leaders, the primary reason, simply put, is that it
just makes good business sense. Those organizations that want
to reap the kind of financial returns so critical to their long-term
success, should begin seeking out and supporting executive women
leaders. Over the long haul, that's something that we can all
bank on. Don't you agree?
Copyright 2004 Regina
Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.