Given all of the buzz around gender inequality in the workplace, you’d think we’d finally be making some real progress. But despite the non-stop media coverage, it’s estimated that at our current rate of change, it will take until the year 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in the United States, and 202 years before we’re able to reach gender parity globally. What’s going on?
McKinsey and Lean In just came out with a new Women in the Workplace report that sheds some light on the realities of why women aren’t making faster progress.
One interesting finding is that although men and women enter the workforce in just about equal numbers, for every 100 men promoted to first-level management, only 72 women are promoted. The numbers are even more bleak for women of color.
This has serious long-term implications because it means that there are less women in the talent pipeline when promoting and hiring for senior-level positions.
Fixing this ‘broken rung’ means an additional 1 million women would move into management positions over the next five years, which is not only good for women – it’s good for business! More and more studies tell us that greater gender diversity leads to more innovation and better financial performance, as well as increased employee satisfaction and retention.
At Her New Standard, we know that there are plenty of systemic factors that hold women back, and the Women in the Workplace report does a great job of addressing these. We also know there are key steps that women can take to increase their chances of promotion.
Here are some areas to focus on (and that we cover in HNS Accelerate, our women’s leadership program) that make a real difference:
• Articulating a leadership brand, as a way to clearly convey achievements and strengths. In HNS Accelerate, we encourage our participants to meet with leaders in their organizations and talk about the value they bring and how they can contribute at greater levels. It’s inspiring to hear about the new opportunities that result from these conversations! We encourage you to try this as well. For assistance creating and sharing your leadership brand, be sure to check out our blog post that walks you through the process step-by-step.
• Developing strategic thinking. We guide HNS Accelerate participants to consider broader trends, widen the net of options they consider, and then reality test their assumptions with others. As a result their strategic contributions increase, which sets them apart from others.
• Seeking out feedback regularly. Continual feedback helps our HNS participants leverage the behaviors that are working and change those that are getting in the way. The 360-degree assessment they take at the beginning of the program gives them valuable insights about how to advance in their organization. If you want to learn how to ask for feedback the right way, read our blog post: How To Ask for Feedback (That’s Actually Helpful).
At HNS, we are proud of the impact our Accelerate program has on catapulting the confidence and skills of emerging women leaders. We hope that you’ll join us in our efforts to accelerate gender equality in the workplace, support women leadership, and create better business outcomes.