BanklessTimes.com has presented data indicating that the number of CEOs heading fortune 500 companies is growing. The firm’s analysis shows that female CEOs there have increased by 95% in the last 6 years.
From 21 CEOs in 2016, the number has increased to 41 today. That’s an impressive feat indeed. However, it belies a sobering fact: women remain underrepresented at the helm of these companies. Women account for a paltry 8.2% of that position’s holders despite the growth.
Why does this matter?
Not only does it illustrate a clear gender disparity issue in a professional setting. But it also reveals the lethargy in addressing it. This lack of representation means that many women are not getting a fair chance to prove themselves capable leaders and innovators within their respective industries.
Research shows that having women in leadership positions is beneficial for businesses overall. Some studies have associated having more women in leadership roles with increased profitability and lowered risk-taking. Others have found that firms with women on their boards displayed higher returns on equity and higher valuations.
Moreover, the studies show the lack of women representation at this level is not due to a lack of interest. Instead, it’s due to the lack of opportunity. The same studies found no barriers to entry into leadership positions for women seeking them. The only thing stopping them is access!
Empowering women to leadership roles
There are various reasons why there is an attrition of women at higher levels in an organization, but one of them seems to be self-doubt. To reverse this, society needs to start challenging its assumptions about what a leader looks like and what they can do.
Also, women need to encourage each other to take risks, assertive, and not shy away from stretch assignments. They have to be more vocal about their accomplishments. That’ll get them noticed and rewarded for their hard work. Finally, they must learn how to negotiate effectively to get what they deserve.