Women today are constantly breaking the glass ceiling, and making great strides in their professional lives. But there are many factors preventing them from truly making a difference in the world of business. Because of pre-conceived notions, firmly embedded stereotypes, and age-old traditions, many women have been denied the opportunity for top management positions, and till a decade back, it was very rare to see a woman on the Board of Directors for a company.
But now, times are slowly but surely changing, as more women are rising to the challenge and changing the way professionals think. It is becoming more and more important for companies to promote their female employees to higher positions, as this helps bring a number of positive changes to the business.
There are multiple studies that show that diversity and inclusion are extremely crucial factors of the boardroom. According to the Human Capital Theory (Becker 1962, 1975), human capital comprises an individual’s stock of knowledge and skills that have been derived from their education, work or life experiences, which enhances their productivity and usefulness as employees. By giving more women a chance, companies can benefit from a different perspective and experience that a woman brings with them, to bring different and innovative solutions to the table.
There are many reasons why women benefit companies when placed in leadership roles. Women are often found to surpass their male counterparts when it comes to motivating their staff. According to a report titled ‘Women Matter’ by McKinsey, women leaders tend to use five of the nine most important kinds of leadership behaviours that enhance organizational performance more often than men – people development, expectations and rewards, role model, inspiration and participative decision-making. Other studies conducted into the behaviours of men and women leaders are more inclined to be the role models for the change they want, and are amenable to sharing experiences that motivate others to accept and encourage change.
Some of the studies comparing leadership styles found that on an average, men are often prone to adopting stricter repercussions for behaviour and an individualistic decision-making style. Women on the other hand are found to be more inclusive and collaborative in both, decision-making and leadership style, that leads to better results. Women are also found to be more empathetic in nature. This helps them sense unrest in employees quicker and have the social skills and emotional intelligence to handle these issues in a more effective manner. Their emotional maturity can also help in bringing in an aesthetic touch to the product/service offering and brand, and can lend this sentiment to marketing campaigns to bring the emotional aspect which resonates with a wider audience.
Women in general are focused, dedicated and multi-faceted individuals, and have proven to be very beneficial for the companies when present in the boardroom. According to a study conducted by Adams and Funk (2011), women directors tend to be more likely to observe higher standards of corporate responsibility, place greater emphasis of ethical corporate conduct and are less likely to take unnecessary risks. According to another study, having more women on the board also results in women employees getting fair deals in terms of their remuneration.
By adding more women at top positions, companies have the chance to make a lasting change that results in a better work culture, and good decisions being made in terms of business. This is a sign of progress that all companies across the world must adopt and nurture, in order to have a better future.