Female Business Leaders, Empowering the Next Wave
The composition of leadership roles in the business world has been primarily male-dominated for as long as businesses have existed. It wasn’t until the 1980s that business management roles began to be filled with female leaders. In the nearly 40 years since that point in history, women have fought tooth and nail to pave the way for future generations of females to take on leadership roles as well.
For the time being, most female leaders are nestled in industries that emphasize the need for those with empathetic people skills whereas men’s leadership roles are concentrated in organizations that focus on production and output. With the right opportunities, training and female mentors, women can continue to bring in exciting, fresh perspectives in male-dominated industries while in leadership positions.
Women in the Workplace
The cost of living in the U.S. has steadily risen between the start of WWII and now, making it nearly impossible for families to live comfortably on the average salary. The second wave of the Women’s Rights Movement was organized in the 1960s and helped to pass Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and later played a pivotal role in passing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
These laws paved the way for women to pursue an education and career in whichever field they pleased. This motivated an entire generation of women to strike out into the workforce after acquiring degrees from notable universities to even the playing field amongst their male counterparts.
Women emerged from the 1970s to the 1980s, finding that their gender represented less than 10% of architecture, engineer, construction, general operations, computer information, industrial production, and transportation manager roles. Female managers were forced to carve out their niches in feminized fields where they experienced gender wage gaps on an astonishing level.
Recent research from The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) estimates that wages for women won’t be 100% equal until 2059. In this same research, the IWPR estimates that Black women will be waiting until 2124 for equal pay while Hispanic women won’t expect to receive wage equality until 2233.
Although modest gains have been seen for women since the turn of the 21st century due to the increase in awareness on the need for diversity in the workplace, there have been many industries that neglect to follow through with plans to circumvent the obvious shortage of female leaders within their organizations.
Empowering Female Leadership
Leadership roles in professions dominated by females are predominantly held by males on a global scale. Females are massively underrepresentation in secondary school leadership roles in the U.K. where 63% of teaching positions are comprised of women, but only 39% of headteacher roles are held by women.
During the 2016–17 school year, only 18% of the top 200 worldwide universities have a female in a leadership role which is a stark representation of global gender inequality in higher education leadership roles.
To counteract these deeply ingrained gender inequalities, companies must make a concerted effort to take accountability to set a visible example for other companies to follow. Companies should be looking for opportunities for young women and minority leaders to discuss how they can further their careers in leadership roles with senior members.
These senior members must focus on setting the right example through the core philosophies of authentic, powerful and trustworthy leadership skills that can be easily transferred and applied to all future female business leaders.
It’s crucial that women in positions of power and leadership in all industries must play an active role in promoting women as leaders. Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step, but implementing a passive solution is not the long-term answer.
Putting forth a concerted effort into implementing the right training with the right people at the right companies for women in the workplace now will ultimately help pave the way for the next generation of driven female business leaders.