I was speaking to a room full of top, female mortgage industry professionals and asked what they most struggle with while working in a male-dominated industry. I don’t know what I expected them to say, but I certainly didn’t expect these successful women to answer my question with “Being heard” and “Not wanting to appear like a b*tch”.
The group also felt intimidated by male authority. When most of the industry “authority” is male, that’s a serious problem, even for the top performers that made up my audience.
These female mortgage professionals aren’t alone. Here are three sobering facts about what women face in the U.S. workplace:
- Women hold just 21% of senior leadership roles in the U.S. according to the 2015 Grant Thornton International Business Report. This lags behind other countries such as Russia, where women hold 40% of senior management roles.
- Women make up just 14.3% of the executive officer positions in the U.S., while women in Eastern Europe fill 35% of executive roles.
- The rates of employment for women have been rising in other countries, yet have declined in the U.S., falling to 69% from 74%.
These three facts just skim the surface of the reality for women in today’s workforce. Yet these statistics alone make it very clear that more conversation about women in the workplace is in order.
I talk about women in the workplace a lot, especially the fact that they are leaving the corporate world en masse to start their own companies. That is one of the four major trends organizations are facing now and will continue to face.
Despite the overwhelming odds, I help organizations create strategic plans to recruit, retain and develop female talent. I want the reality of women in the workplace to be understood far and wide, and I want to spark the conversations that can lead to positive change. To start the conversations, here are my top five 2015 posts on women in the workplace.
It’s time to start conversations about creating purpose-driven organizations as a way to retain female talent.
“For years, we thought it was us. That we were failures. We thought that if we just did twice as well as the pasty hoodie-wearers around us we’d move up through the ranks too. Instead you got twice as much work out of us than you did out of our male peers, and tossed us a few scraps of “women’s networks” and “Lean In Circles” instead of promotions and raises.”
That is an excerpt from TableFlip’s 450-word manifesto, which is a call for women to bring activist methods into the business landscape. Read more about the TableFlip manifesto and the implications of its existence here.
While blatant gender bias is becoming more rare, something else has taken its place. That something is called, “Second-Generation Bias,” and it may be eating away at your organizations ability to attract, develop and retain female talent. Is your organization guilty of it? Are you? Here are three factors signaling second-generation gender bias at the organizational level, and six ways to correct that second-generation bias.
My 10-year-old daughter and I are tired of boy heroes in young adult fiction. Sure, we love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Yet, we need more role models for our future female leaders. When all the heroes you’re seeing and reading about are male, you’re going to look for a man if you’re looking for a hero or leader. You’ll look right past a woman.
Reading through all of my daughter’s books, I found there were just three heroines worth modeling in the tween blockbuster series of books. Meet those three fictional heroines here and see what they teach current and future female leaders.
One reason your organization should pay attention to gender demographics at work is purely economical. Two recent high-profile studies found that having even just one woman on a company’s board correlates with significantly better performance.
Female leadership is not a “nice-to-have.” It’s a must-have for companies to survive and thrive. Organizations that understand the value of diversity need to step up to the plate if they want to attract and retain women. Here, three tips to get you started on a new strategy for retaining female talent.