The past couple of weeks has provided me with a lot of learning opportunities. I have been blessed to have had conversations with some women that I admire and respect. They understand leadership and how important it is in relation to family, community and the work place. They also struggle with moving ahead in the organizations that they are working in or were working in. That’s right – were working in. One of the folks that I spend time with in a mentoring relationship made the courageous choice to leave the organization that she had been working in. I fully support her decision as her leadership capabilities were being suppressed by a “boss” that doesn’t understand the principles of trusted relationships and effective communication.
I have also been a participant in conversations where there was a very clear disparity between male and female employees doing much the same work. In fact I saw some of the behaviors as condescending to say the least. There didn’t appear to be any concern whatsoever for the perception that this provided to the employee involved and for that matter to other employees in the organization. I can only imagine what the “word on the street” is as a result of this.
To round this out is how people perceive women in leadership roles. You would think that we have a switch that automatically turns our listening abilities (if we had any in the first place) off when a woman in leadership speaks. After all what would they know – they are only a woman. Hello folks this is 2016 and those thoughts should have been buried in caves back in the days of the cave people. It is no wonder that we have leadership talent shortages and we have yet to tap into this excellent source of leadership talent. It is not wonder that women have not been able to break through the glass ceiling. There is room for improvement in every organization.
So how many female leaders are there in the world today?
There are currently 18 female world leaders, including 12 female heads of government and 11 elected female heads of state (some leaders are both, and figurehead monarchs are not included), according to United Nations data. These women account for about one-in-ten of today’s leaders of United Nations member states.
How many women CEOS are there?
The answer is 50.
This list names all the women who currently hold CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. Women currently hold 20 (4.0%) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies.
Fact: Globally, the proportion of senior business roles held by women stands at 24%, up slightly from 22% in 2015. However, this minor uplift has coincided with an increase in the percentage of firms with no women in senior management, at 33% in 2016 compared to 32% last year.
Fact: Women also appear to perceive leadership skills differently to men. “While communication is seen as the most important attribute of good leaders by both sexes, women are more likely to perceive this skill in terms of listening and engaging in two-way dialogue, while men are more likely to focus on broadcasting messages”.
Fact: “Communication has for too long been thought of as broadcast; actually it’s all about creating conversation and building community. Companies may recognize the need for female leadership but they must do more to transform their leadership cultures in order to attract women aspiring to senior roles.”
Fact: The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 78.6 percent for full-time/year-round workers in 2014. This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is 21.4 percent. Women’s median annual earnings in 2014 were $39,621 compared with $50,383 for men.
Fact: Companies with more women on their boards were found to outperform their rivals with a 42 percent higher return in sales, 66 percent higher return on invested capital, and 53 percent higher return on equity.
Fact: 35% of organizations globally are not able to fill available jobs. Only 2% of those organizations seek female talent to fill available jobs.
Mentoring when done effectively can help enhance the existing skills of anyone that it touches. 67% of women surveyed have rated mentorship as being highly important in helping them to advance and grow their careers. We must also take into account that effective mentoring skills are transferable and can be applied in family life, community and of course in the work place.
Only 56% of the organizations surveyed have a formal mentoring program in place today. Training unfortunately is rare of typically ineffective. Lack of training is one of the four main reasons for mentoring programs to fail.
Mentoring does work and can be a significant part of the solution to helping enhance the leadership capabilities for women in the work force. It does take time to do this effectively but without it in place we will be having this conversation again very soon. It is 2016 and the time for talking about the “gift of mentoring” has come to a close. It is 2016 and it is time to take action and leverage mentoring to enhance the leadership skills of women in the work force – “can we afford not to?”