If women account for 50% of the workforce (in most economies), why can’t they achieve parity with men in the positions of responsibility in companies? 1
Well into the second decade of the 21st century, the controversy about gender differences in corporate life arouses more interest than ever. Above all, it focuses on understanding why, after years of legislation in favor of equality, women are still unable to achieve parity with men in positions of responsibility in the world of business.
But there are reasons to be optimistic
In today’s world of business there are signs of a subtle shift away from the Western pattern of male domination characteristic of the 19th and 20th centuries. It manifests itself in very different ways: in the feminization of leadership styles, the importance of female purchasing power, the disruptive effect of the Internet on business models, the shifting of economic power from the West to the East and the change in men’s roles and attitudes toward work and family life.
Companies that ignore these trends risk making a serious mistake. There is much evidence that parity and feminine leadership styles are beneficial for companies:
- Gender parity on boards of directors means more profitability.
- The stocks of companies with executive women are worth 26% more.
- Women have a more participative leadership style and a greater ability to perceive risk, adapting better to a more democratic professional world.
- A study by Illuminate Ventures reveals that technology companies founded by women use capital in a more efficient way than most
Only if women can develop their full potential will there be true economic and social progress in the 21st century.
The complete thesis behind this video and this article can be found in the essay by Alison Maitland for OpenMind, “A gender power shift in the making”, which can be consulted and downloaded free here. Alison Maitland is an author and international lecturer specializing in leadership, diversity and the new world of work.