More women are accessing tertiary education and entering the workforce than ever before. However, research shows that women are not growing at the same rates as men in the organisational pipeline. At an entry-level, we almost have gender parity but at the top, men end up holding almost 80% of the positions, while women just 20%.
According to the Women in the Workplace reports published by McKinsey & LeanIn, the problem is not the glass ceiling to reach the top.
It rather begins much earlier, when women do not access the first stage of leadership positions in organisations. And the truth is that the pandemic has amplified gender bias in the workplace. As working mothers have disproportionally assumed more childcare and housework responsibilities, they are judged more harshly at work as "less committed" than fathers and women without children.
In this article, I share three ideas to leverage your leadership and feel supported in your career development during these challenging times:
1) Create a network of sponsors
A sponsor is a person in your organisation who advocates for your talent. She/ he gives visibility to your work and connects you with key stakeholders, strategic projects or career opportunities. Think about becoming a sponsor to a young woman in your network and asking a leader you admire to become yours.
2) Build a community of women
There is this saying: “when women gather, great things happen”. Growing in a community is powerful because we realise that we are not alone, that we are not inadequate, but we face the same systemic barriers. Try peer mentoring at work or maybe create a monthly circle with women in your neighbourhood to come together and discuss challenges, experiences and how you can support each other.
3) Fix the system
Since we all have bias, we all have work to do. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is a joint effort that requires everybody's participation. You can start by asking: What are the DEI goals in my organisation? What are the criteria or policies to recruit and promote people? Maybe it is time to launch an Unconscious Bias Training! Become a facilitator and use 50 Ways to Fight Bias, a free digital program developed by LeanIn and Sandford’s Women Leadership Innovation Lab.
On 8 March, International Women's Day, we commemorate the progress on gender equality and all the work that remains to be done. As a Careering into Motherhood coach, I reaffirm my commitment to accompany you to navigate the different career transitions in your life with ease and redefine success in each season - because the world needs more authentic and compassionate female leaders like you.
This article was written by Lorena Carrasco, Organisational Psychologist and Career Coach, co-founder and CEO at Ñustas. Ñustas creates empathetic, research-based and actionable Learning and Development solutions for women's career advancement. You can get in touch with Lorena via LinkedIn and at www.nustas.com.