Look around any company, and there are still few women in management positions than men. Why does this continue to happen?
The answer is not simple: a combination of factors contributes to it. But, there is a solution.
After several articles read, my own experience as a woman and ask male colleagues their point of view, here are the conclusions: most men are in favour that women are in management positions. From those only a small part thinks that it should be done to comply with the law and/or because is the right thing to do. And here is a surprise for women: most men think that it is not about gender. It is about a person’s capacity. Yes, how capable that person is to be in charge. And this is where the solution comes…
How are women showing they are capable to be in a management position?
Many women think that the easiest way to do it is showing with results that she is the best candidate. Like when you were a little girl: showing that you got a 10 on your homework. No, that’s not all! There are other factors that must be covered, such as speak-up, be more direct, ask for what you want and don’t be shy to say no. Self-confidence is a very important part[i], as it is, to take the initiative. Being proactive more than reactive is a key element to stand out.
There is also something missing: generate a network among female colleagues. Such as men do: they have a strong network that supported them when needed. Women should start supporting and encouraging other women; even if they are their competitors, healthy competition is always good in business.
The main disadvantage women have is culture. It’s a fact: in most countries, women’s skills and abilities are minimized, tagging them to be less suitable for management positions. Culture can’t be changed so quickly, we are all involved. However what women can do is to embrace that; accept the fact that what is different, usually it’s rejected and start doing something to improve and develop the necessary competencies[ii].
By having a strong presence in business and breaking stereotypes, women can be seen as a huge opportunity in business. You have heard it: men don’t think that promotion is about gender. Thus, take advantage of it! More women can be in management positions because they are capable. It is in our hands to show it. So, what are you waiting to invest in yourself? Join us at Women in Leadership Summit.
And may the best one get the management position!
By Mónica Ramírez Chimal, Partner of Asserto RSC, Mexico City