Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
We, women, have made incredible inroads in the business world, and yet, there’s still a ways to go baby!
I ran smack-dab into a barrier to female equality when introduced as a pioneer in the field of gender-inclusive leadership for women. That lit-up a response—a negative one—in the heart of a well-respected C-suite leader.
Let’s address a couple of his opinions:
“There’s no difference between men and women in business. Women shouldn’t have separate training.” You know I agree with him. I’m not a proponent of all programs being based entirely on gender. However, women often misread the rules of engagement in a business setting; and thus, unknowingly harm their careers. Divulging ways of empowering the fabulous feminine mind is fundamental for a company's profitability as well as expanding women's career trajectory. A Harvard Business School survey spotlights the gap as well as the need for reframing: although male and female graduates had similar levels of ambition, men were significantly more likely to have positions in senior management, direct reports, and profit-and-loss responsibility. Women need to know what in their attitudes and behaviors are potentially excluding them from power and influence—because it’s not their skills or lack of effort!
“There are a lot of guys that don’t achieve the C-suite so why focus only on women?” Umm? Women hold 52 percent of all professional-level jobs, and yet they are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, and 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats. A LeanIn/McKinsey study verifies women and men say they want to be promoted in about equal numbers (75 percent and 78 percent respectively), but women are significantly less likely to make it to the next tier in their organization. Research reveals women are a whopping 15 percent less likely than men to get promoted! It is clear women need to know the secrets for them to assume their well-earned and rightful place in business.
Not all leaders wear blinders on this issue; however, combating such attitudes will aid in realizing women’s inclusiveness.
Women, you are far more powerful than you can ever imagine. Stand tall. Trust that your feminine viewpoint is essential, be strategic and don’t back down!