It is estimated that women make up nearly half of the global workforce, yet only about 27% of them hold managerial and leadership positions. Even fewer occupy high-level senior management positions. Women leaders in Eastern Missouri face a variety of challenges, from unconscious bias to gender discrimination and the gender pay gap. Unconscious bias is a major obstacle for many female leaders.
This can be anything from a belief in gender stereotypes to subconscious attitudes about female abilities. Bias can also manifest as preferences for women who act, talk, and dress in certain ways. Unconscious biases about female employees are especially damaging in the areas of management and leadership. Studies have shown that these biases can make it much harder (and slower) for women to move up to executive positions than for men.
Addressing unconscious bias in the workplace is not an easy task. These biases are born from a variety of factors, and addressing them requires taking a careful look at how a workplace works and then implementing anti-discrimination training and best equity practices. The gender pay gap is another challenge that women leaders face. While the gender pay gap of the 1990s is narrowing, women in executive positions still earn between 8% and 25% less than male executives in comparable positions.
There are fewer female leaders than men in most companies, but even those in management positions tend to receive a lower salary than their male counterparts. It is estimated that up to 85% of all female employees have experienced sexual harassment at work at least once, and this figure is likely to be higher for women in management and supervisory positions. Americans see similar obstacles for women seeking leadership positions in politics and in the business world. Roughly six-in-ten say that one of the main reasons women are underrepresented in senior political and executive positions in business is that women have to do more to prove themselves than men. Approximately half say that gender discrimination is a major barrier for women in each of these areas.
A substantial proportion also indicates that many companies are not prepared to hire women for high-level executive positions (47%) and that many Americans are not prepared to elect women to higher positions (45%).At least seven out of ten women, but close to half of men, cite that women have to work harder to prove their worth as one of the main reasons why there are fewer women than men in top business and political positions. Among those who see a difference between men and women in this regard, the majority (62%) do not believe that either sex is better; 22% say that women have a better approach and 15% say that men do. Most say that having more women in the highest positions in business and government would improve quality of life, at least slightly, for all Americans (69%) and specifically for women (77%) and men (57%).In order to overcome these challenges, companies must provide women with opportunities to demonstrate their worth as leaders through promotions and appropriate assignments. They must also implement anti-discrimination training and best equity practices to address unconscious bias.