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BW Businessworld

The Lack of Women in the Position of Power in the Corporate World

According to Catalyst, the percentage of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29% in 2019. Though this is the highest number ever recorded, it still needs improvement.

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Around the world, women’s lack of representation in the corporate world, especially at the C- suite level, has sparked debates over the years. Arguably, women’s participation in power positions and decision making is essential for ensuring their rights and equality. Where women have participated actively in different spheres of life and social issues, they have been able to work toward ending gender discrimination. But they have made slow progress in the corporate arena, even while delivering impressive results at the workplace and making exciting gains in other areas such as health, employment and education.

Worldwide, men and women continue to advance through different fields - personal and professional with the same zeal for achievement. However, women still face many challenges in their professional lives as they are generally paid less for similar work and often lose their ambition and opt out as they do not ascend to the top position. Women holding power positions in the corporate arena has always been a rare phenomenon. While it was scarce a decade ago, the absence still exists in workplaces today.

According to Catalyst, the percentage of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29% in 2019. Though this is the highest number ever recorded, it still needs improvement. Further, in 2020, only 17% of CMOs and 16% of COOs are women compared to 40% of human resources directors which signifies that higher up the corporate ladder, the fewer women. Talking about India, in 2019, women held 9% of business management roles, 8% of management roles, and were only 2% of CEOs.

Fair to say, the corporate structure is not so fair for the fairer sex. But, the question is, 

Why does the Issue Continue to Exist?

World over, there are several explanations given for the astounding gender gap in the corporate world. Various assumptions come to the forefront when a woman is in a leadership role such as tagging them as aggressive, risk-averse, more prone to emotional decisions, pushy and deceitful, whereas ambition in men is a valued leadership trait. No matter how woke and liberal the world may get, these stereotypes just don't seem to go away.

While the COVID-19 crisis has shown us the remarkable leadership capabilities of female leaders around the world, the concept of having a woman as a superior figure over them still doesn't go well with most men. As women are still the primary caregivers in families, companies often believe that work/career is not their priority. There is a popular perception that a woman cannot undertake work responsibilities that might disturb her “primary’ role at home.

Apart from this, mentorship has been a long-term problem, particularly in areas where senior team members are men as they are more supportive, encouraging and helpful towards young men than they are towards young women. This is because humans usually identify with younger colleagues of the same sex.

Changing Outlooks

Although numerous discussions happen around the need and ways of women empowerment in the corporate and start-up ecosystem, ideally this should not be the case. Women should be generally treated at par with men. It is encouraging to see how start-ups in India are leading the way when it comes to narrowing the gender gap at leadership positions.

Companies are gradually taking initiatives of healthy and meaningful mentorship of highly qualified women executive candidates and ecosystem is becoming unbiased to help women excel in their career. Certainly, women have started to expand their positions and will continue to progress with equality. With the current generation paving the foundation, and the next set of millennials having the most educated group of women in history, it shall not be surprising that 1 out of every 3 organizations will have women at leadership positions by 2025. 

Summing Up

Today is just a start of narrowing down the gap, what shall be witnessed in the years to come will mark an unprecedented change in the way leadership was ever seen.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tanmai Paul

Co-Founder & CMO for Bolo Indya

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