Women have made leaps and bounds in closing the equality gap and achieving their career goals. However, there are still areas of inequality and discrimination that must be addressed. As responsible members of society, we must all attempt to identify the main ongoing challenges that women leaders face. A few of these challenges are listed below.
Even with all the progress that women have made in the workforce, there are still stereotypes that remain in some people’s minds, whether it be from what they were taught growing up or an idea they’ve adopted themselves. Many people still believe that women are more emotional, less decisive, and less authoritative than men. And when women do display these characteristics, they can often be viewed in a negative light. Overcoming these stereotypes can be a full-time job of its own, which only compounds the difficulty of being an effective leader.
While gender diversity is embraced more today than ever before, it still requires urgent attention. Not only do women continue to face ongoing challenges, but other groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, continue to face challenges in the workplace. This is something that companies should not only understand, but should prioritize in their business plan. Creating an equal workplace for all individuals can help improve company morale, as well as overall employee satisfaction.
Balancing Work With Personal Life
Work-life balance can be tricky for any individual, but women leaders often face an added challenge, especially if they have children. Even though parenting is a responsibility shared by both parents, some women are forced to make a choice between their career and their family. Women leaders shouldn’t have to make a choice. No parent should have to choose between family and career. Women leaders are finding it easier to maintain this balance, but it still hasn’t been an easy thing to achieve. For female leaders who don’t have children but are actively engaged in their communities and with hobbies and volunteer work, the need to strike a balance also exists. Corporate policies that encourage women to develop and maintain an active and fulfilling life outside of the office only stand to improve the quality of these individuals’ leadership in the workplace.
Having Their Judgment Questioned
Though a female leader may have proven herself extremely capable of making sound business decisions, her judgment may still be questioned simply because she is a female. Women leaders often face unwarranted skepticism and judgment, whether questioned upfront in a meeting or behind closed doors as the newest employee gossip. This may not be true for every organization, but it has surely been experienced enough to be recognized as a real issue. The reality is that women have the ability to make sound business decisions just as much as any other coworker and their judgment shouldn’t be questioned simply because of their gender. When working at a company that promotes open dialogue and allows for candid exploration of ideas and decisions, women will have the opportunity to continue building their professional and leadership skills.
When thinking about one’s own business or employer, it is important to consider how women are viewed in the workplace. Are they getting the same access to leadership possibilities as their male counterparts? Do you feel like there is a way to help decrease challenges that exist for women in your workplace? I urge you to dedicate time to not only determine how your company helps women in the workplace, but to also brainstorm ways to reduce the risk of potential barriers in the future.