By Heide Abelli
In my 25 years and counting in business and as a female executive, I’ve remained disappointed and surprised by the fact that we are still fighting to have more women in leadership roles. We know there is a scarcity of female CEOs and board members, that companies with greater female representation in management perform better and that the majority of companies are actually really trying to address the imbalance.
The problem is how most organizations are going about addressing the issue. Too often attempts to solve the problem become more of a ‘checking the boxes’ exercise as HR rolls out Affinity or Employee Resource Groups, One-off Women’s Leadership Training, or sends female leaders to Women’s Leadership Conferences.
Then there are those companies who offer the “mommy track,” with flexible career options that usually also come with real career penalties, such as wage reductions, slower career progression, and lower job evaluations. Therefore, men and career-focused women rarely choose them, despite the fact that support options such as child care, flexible working hours, and paternity leave all have significant organizational benefits.
Some companies decide to highlight the imbalance problem by proactively providing unconscious bias training, which brings into the open matters of hiring and quotas. But sometimes the result of this is that everything is questioned and then people begin to feel fearful which results in resistance and can actually cause people to sabotage change efforts.
But I, along with Jodie Detjen, co-author of The Orange Line: A Woman’s Guide to Integrating Career, Family and Life, believe we have an answer - The Gender Talent Solution.
In our paper, Overcoming Unseen Obstacles: How to get more women into leadership positions, we break down this ‘solution’ into nine identifiable stages/steps, and by following these steps and incorporating Skillsoft’s training solutions, we believe organizations can start to address the imbalance in a way that is satisfying to all.
To read our paper in full - click here.
Heide Abelli is vice president of leadership and business skills at Skillsoft.