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3 Reasons Companies Struggle to Retain Women in Leadership

Gender should never determine one’s leadership abilities, especially that of a woman. The need for more female leaders has never been more important, and there are many studies and reports supporting this.

The Fortune 500 list in America showed that women CEOs make up only 6.4% of executive leadership. It’s been proven that companies boasting a higher representation of women on their boards outperform those without. Those studies have also proven that organizations with greater gender diversity are more profitable.

This is why we see more women taking a women’s leadership program and working to climb their way up to managerial and senior positions. However, there are still significant barriers to women’s advancement and we still find fewer women in leadership roles.

Take a look at these reasons why companies still struggle to retain women in managerial and executive leadership positions. 

  1. Women Receive No-Win Roles 

Women report being offered leadership “opportunities” in no-win roles. At times, the roles offered and challenges included came without appropriate resources. Moreover, some roles are structured in a way that would make failure likely. 

A study found that FTSE 10 Index companies are likely to appoint women to their boards after an extended period of poor stock market performance.

These roles create challenges for women, as high-profile failure in leadership roles can derail careers. This is considered an external and societal push factor serving as a barrier to women’s leadership. 

  1. Women Lack Confidence 

A study from the Center for Creative Leadership found that women are likely to report feeling unsure of themselves. This meant they either wondered if they were truly qualified for leadership positions, found difficulty seeing themselves as leaders, or struggled to overcome self-limiting thoughts and impostor syndrome or self-limiting thoughts.

This is not unproven. Studies have shown that leadership opportunities for males come with more resources!

Other times, women wondered if others genuinely wanted them to take on a leadership role, therefore wondering if they will receive support. They would also report challenges in regard to asking for money and overcoming perfectionism.

  1. Women Aren’t Offered Equal Opportunities

Women feel like they do not receive the same advancement and leadership opportunities as their male peers do. They feel they have to work harder to receive the similar opportunities men do, and often have to overcome assumptions about their actions and capabilities because of their gender.

In some cases, women may report that experienced female executives entered organizations at lower levels than their male counterparts, so they required more time to get to a similar level as their male peers. This is a clear example of a push factor that becomes an obstacle to women’s leadership.

Moreover, studies show that organizations expect women to be more qualified than men for similar roles and that women are hired based on experience over potential.

Wrapping It Up

For these reasons companies struggle to retain women’s leadership, you can create appropriate strategies to let women shine.

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