Women face several challenges to make what men make for the same job and to attain the promotions that will place them in leadership roles. But women have made progress and they can make more.
With the current controversies and more and more women voicing their opinions through media, the legal community, and the concepts of equality, gender fairness, and a positive need for women to adopt leadership roles are being popularized. The opportunities have infinite possibilities for a fairer and more equitable workplace that brings diverse genders to management and leadership.
Women are gradually making their presence felt in education, health, administration, commercial, political, environmental levels. Even more at national and global levels while breaking the traditional glass ceiling phenomenon that restricted them from entering leadership roles even if they possessed requisite skills and talents.
As we speak Women are constantly reaching new milestones across a wide spectrum of human activities in modern society and the world is becoming a witness to the new age women leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Indira Nooyi, Oprah Winfrey, Theresa May and so on.
Every organization needs a leader irrespective of its size and functions. A leader is one who influences and encourages a team of people to work towards the attainment of certain goals. It is the hallmark of a leader to help them gain realization towards the goal and work for betterment. A set of leadership qualities inherent or cultivated in people who develop themselves into great leaders and can be acquired through any gender orientation. It is not restrictive to just the male population worldwide but society, the community, and the business world have stigmatized to do so.
METHODOLOGY AND AIMS
I have used an open-ended interview in order to gain insights about the various achievements and strides women of different fields have gained success in. It also covers the various challenges and issues they face at the workplace and as a female leader through open-ended questions. A detailed content analysis follows the interview sessions. Through an open-ended interview, the responses are least restrictive. The interviewees’ knowledge, skills, experiences are expressed in detail.
Sample Size: 5 Interviewees
Age Group: 30 – 50 years of age
Q.1) How do you balance work and life responsibilities? (personal and professional)
Q.2) Do women in your positions face difficulties getting promoted?
Q.3) As a female leader what are some of the barriers you face in your career? When you face challenges as a leader what encourages you?
Q.4) What is the highlight of your career?
Q.5) Who inspired you and why?
Q.6) What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Q.7) Do you experience resistance when you lead men?
Q.8) What strengths and qualities should women have while entering a male-dominated profession?
Q.9) Did you ever imagine yourself as a leader when you initially started your profession?
Q.10) Did you have a woman as your mentor or support?
ANALYSIS: RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
The analysis of the responses is done by classifying the questions into themes. The following initials are the interviewees, their professions, and their age groups.
- MF – Lawyer, 38
- KB – CEO, 45
- RR – Fashion Designer, 35
- AS – Skincare Company, 30
- PD – Business Strategist, 47
Balancing work (professional) and life (personal) responsibilities
Work-life balance sounds ideal but is a major challenge. A demanding career, emails, back to back meetings and nonstop deadlines it is challenging to eating a meal yourself while managing your family’s routines and meals. It is equally important to nurture your business as your marriage and in order to do that in the given time a lot of compromises are made.
You learn to hire an effective assistant to manage smaller tasks like emails, appointments, updating social media, and websites. So, I realized I was working too hard on something that didn’t even need me. I plan my schedule the night before and answer business-related calls and emails in a given time instead of every time a notification pops up. I maintain screen-free evenings and spend that time qualitatively with my husband and children. It is crucial always to always sort out of your priorities and time everything out. Making a schedule and getting things done works wonders and releases benefits in the long run.
Importance of Art of Delegation
The art of delegation is one to be learned and being a leader at work and at home, an assistant can help to ease out enormous workloads. My spouse and I divide tasks for the kids and in that way do not dread coming home to heaps of work. Staying connected with your loved ones even at work releases stress and keeps you connected with your family. It’s comforting to know you’re aware of everything that’s going on at home and helps you get through rough days at work.
As a working woman, every minute is crucial. Distractions and time-wasters such as chatty coworkers and internet surfing slow down your productivity. Instead, it is crucial to figure when to remove time for leisurely activities and when to get work done. As an aging parent cum CEO it is important to give some time to yourself by going for a spa, a massage, maybe a yoga class, or taking a small trip somewhere close by. They are invariably determined to complete tasks and ensure smooth functioning of how they manage it single-handedly in the domestic setting at home. Women are less likely to have the lone wolf or the leader of the pack mentality and lend themselves in training mentoring and being key in the personal development of others.
Difference between a women’s and men’s work
Women take assignments because it is offered to them. She doesn’t put herself in running promotions because she knows she will not get it. Instead, she waits for her leadership potential and works ethics to be noticed. She shoulders the work and family overload often neglecting herself. Women are still attending the bulk of domestic and child care responsibilities at home. It is a clockwork schedule with responsibilities multiplying by the minute. Women are driven more by intrinsic motivation about work than what is demanded. In contrast, men who are more career-centric and want to maximize their financial returns. Women have a more holistic approach and prefer to integrate meaning, value factors, and connections with co-workers. It is easier to work with women as they are more sensitive and are more proactive while being extremely communicative.
A highlight of their career and inspiration
Studies on female representation in management found that companies experienced greater financial gains when women were part of leadership ranks. Many statistics show that companies led by women have better financial results and have proved vital to societal transformation. Coming back from her maternity leave was her proudest professional moment as she now felt like the strongest marketer at home and at work. Being a single working mom and having no support and money to reaching this stage where we are touchwood in a much better place with my son and I traveling internationally, representing the company at a global platform and then my son achieving academic excellence while graduating is truly one of the best things and a major highlight. It motivated both of us to work harder and value the meaning of truly hard work.
If they had a woman as a mentor or support and if they envisioned themselves as an emerging leader
Modeling ourselves on others is a part of human nature. For all 5 of the interviewees, a woman either a former CEO or a family member has been their shaping force. Having a female super force above them removes their self-doubt and instills a bundle of confidence. It is a reminder that careers can survive both errors and successes. With women and their high emotional quotient, a female role model builds that of a working woman.
The women we role model are a group of women who share some of our core values and work to create unity. Lifting women up and encouraging each other to reach their fullest potential is the only way to make a change.
Women set more ambitious goals in the presence of women they admire when they contemplated their goals alone. They are more receptive to sensitive feedback from leaders projecting their female energy. Women have a more holistic way to approach challenges and picture the entire structure of their plan.
Difficulties women face getting promoted, Barriers they are met with and how they dealt with it
Many women struggle with finding ways to finding work and life balance and this comes from guilt from the pressure of husbands, family, and peers and leads to never-ending compromise and commitment. Overcoming perfectionism and trusting their own voice is something women gradually develop over the years but a challenge initially. Societies priorities the male members of society and consider feminine qualities far inferior to being masculine.
Glass ceiling as a barrier prevents women from moving up the hierarchies in organizations just because they are ‘women’ and not because of their expertise and knowledge. The glass ceiling situation falls under promotional bias which prevented women from moving up the corporate ladder. India continued to rank third-lowest in the proportion of business leadership roles held by women. Embracing diversity is no longer a feminist notion but an essential on the corporate agenda as it helps drive effectiveness working teams and their functions. The low 7% representation of women in senior management roles in India clearly indicates a need to fix the leaking pipeline and this requires a change in the mindset of all stakeholders, community, and government.
Women too need to be more vocal about their ambitions and raise themselves for the right roles and projects if they aspire to progress into senior management positions. Women try to play by the existing rules in the workplace. There is constant importance of leaving your comfort zone for a woman. We are teaching our girls to be perfect and the boys to be brave. A study by Hewlett Packard states that women apply for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria and men when they meet 60% to be sure of meeting the eligibility. Even when women are ambitious the pressure of perfection often leads them to self-doubt. The effects of a gender gap, pay disputes, promotional biases, and snide comments are an uncommon encounter for working women.
Advice to the next generation of female leaders and the characteristics they inculcate while entering a male-dominated profession
Characteristics women possess in leadership roles are those of being transformational. They emphasize authenticity, communication, and not only accomplishing organizational goals but transforming their subordinates into better-distinguished individuals. To work in collaboration with others is a typical feminine characteristic. They prefer to promote cooperation amongst team members and take in value everyone’s opinions and thoughts. Women decrease employee burnout by creating more gender-inclusive work environments. Women bring in a diversity of perspectives to an organization that enhances creativity and knowledge and these are some of the main qualities possess as well as gradually inculcate in the workplace.
Through this report and content analysis, it can be gathered that women experience several challenges at the workplace and in personal settings. It is a constant battle to achieve a decent salary, a higher managerial position, managing family, and everybody’s routines.
Women make the most effective leaders and many companies having them onboard experience success financially and socially. There is a growth of the company in terms of profits as well as each member. The valuable and extremely worthy responses from these reputed leaders have given me a great insight into having my own career entrepreneurship while keeping in mind the challenges. From these responses and through their real-life journey into transforming themselves into such great people I have learned many lessons for life and values that I hope I can put in effect in my professional life to achieve the balance.