SouthOfMetro|Biggest Challenges Women Leaders Face and How to Overcome Them|Even though the number of female CEOs as at its all-time high, it’s still staggeringly low with only 33 female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Still pushing hard to reach the top of the corporate ladder, women are facing some unique and hard-to-overcome challenges their male peers don’t even think about. These issues are exactly what stops them from achieving their career goals and what diminishes their ability to be the best of the best. In order to present these challenges to the wider public and figure out how to overcome them, it’s important to talk about them openly and sincerely. Here are just some of the issues female leaders come across every day:
One of the biggest issues female businesswomen face is equality. Equal treatment is the right of every employee, but the reality is a little bit different. The best things women leaders can do is push through and bravely go for things they want. If the issue you might be facing is of the social nature (communication skills, leadership skills or emotional intelligence), trying to hone those skills will definitely pay off. Make sure your voice is heard and your presence is seen at meetings.
Race and gender bias
Consciously or unconsciously, everyone is biased even a little bit, which can be a real issue for women in the workplace. Female leaders of color are especially discriminated against and face challenges that range across sections like race, gender and culture. Dealing with other people’s attitudes, experiences and beliefs is something these women have to overcome daily. One of the things that can be done here is to start open discussions about these sensitive subjects. Additionally, speaking up against these harmful behaviors instead of staying silent is always a good first step.
On average, women receive a lower wage than men. According to statistics, women earn from 10% to 50% less than their male counterparts. When we include the fact that many female leaders work with more dedication then men, pay gap becomes a real problem. One of the many things that can be done to correct this injustice is better negotiation. Negotiating harder and more often is the key to better pay, which brings us to our next point.
Asking for a raise
Many women in leadership positions and those aiming to reach them often have issues with discussing pay. Most of them are not confident to charge enough for their worth, afraid to ask for a raise or better benefits and holding back when it comes to promoting their expertise. Mastering some sales practices and getting more confident in your skills can help with this issue. Additionally, women are less likely to seek legal help and sue in order to avoid looking greedy or ungrateful. However, if you deserve any sort of compensation for your injury or occupational disease, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced compensation lawyer who can help with your issues. This will show that you value your health and that you won’t stand to be walked all over. Such an attitude will help you greatly when it comes to reaching leadership positions as well as keeping them.
Lack of support from other women
Surprisingly, garnering support from other women in the industry is very hard for some female leaders. In order to overcome the issues of the business world, women should stick together and empower each other focusing on morals, values and integrity. Only with good foundations are women able to progress through the business world.
Certain women leaders often come across education and training challenges, so they get passed over for promotion. While it’s easy to say “Just get more training”, women with family responsibilities find it difficult to take evening courses or get additional job training. Some job opportunities also include moving away from home which can be hard with kids waiting for their mother to return from business trips. More understanding and better flexibility when it comes to employers, as well as family, is definitely needed.
Family life issues
Even women with stable careers and high job positions are still primary caregivers for their kids or elderly relatives. Due to that reason, they might choose to pass on some good offers or limit their work hours which might bring them a better leadership position. Before they decide to pursue a position, women often have to consider their family, unlike their male colleagues. However, if we ditch traditional gender roles, this issue can be rectified.
Lack of role models
A great majority of women in high positions report that they don’t notice any sort of successful female role models to look up to and you can’t be what you can’t see. While women make about 50% of the labor force, they are rarely in leadership positions, especially women of color. More employers should boost the visibility of their female leaders and encourage them to speak at conferences and other public events.
The lack of confidence in women leaders is another big problem they face every day. Unlike their male counterparts, many women are not comfortable with being disliked or they are not aware of the fact that someone will want to work behind their backs without any apparent reason. Working on self-esteem and confidence will not only open many business doors for an individual, but it can also help women make peace with the fact that being disliked is often a step in the right directions. Successful people usually have a lot of “enemies” and that’s not always a bad thing.
Taking pride in their achievements
Successful men usually don’t shy away from boasting about their hard-earned accomplishments and they why should they? On the other hand, female leaders try not to brag for fear of looking too conceited. However, if you’re a successful CEO or hold any sort of leadership position, you most likely earned your spot and that deserves some bragging right. Fake modesty does nothing but delay your arrival to the top and prevents you from being taken seriously.
These are just some of the most common obstacles female leaders face in the corporate world. Learning how to just over them can be hard, but it will certainly cement you as an authority figure and show the world what power can reside in female arms.