As women (and men) become more educated and aware of their environment, they start questioning gender equality and women’s rights. In our previous blog post, we recognized that there is a parity issue between the genders at the work place. The question we left off with was, why should we care about creating an equal platform for women to excel at the board level?
Here are a couple of reasons why women should be encouraged and given ample opportunities to hold leadership roles:
Women are highly qualified to be leaders. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman conducted research through their database of over 60,000 leaders and found that women outperformed men in 12 of the 16 competencies that were measured. Women generally have positive ratings and are well received as leaders. This would mean that employees have positive feelings about their female bosses and are more open to communicate and interact with the people they work for.
In the same research, Zenger and Folkman noted that women are more likely to seek out opportunities to learn and improve throughout their careers. Women are more motivated to develop themselves and are concerned about continuous improvement. This means that women, being leaders who are progressive and constantly developing, would influence their subordinates to do the same as well. Employees would be encouraged in turn to always improve themselves personally, in the long run resulting in higher productivity and profit for the company.
We need diversity in the workplace. This study by MIT suggests that diverse offices functions more effectively. This research found that “greater social diversity implies a greater spread of experience, which could add to the collective knowledge of a group of office workers and make the unit perform more effectively.” It is not an issue of which gender is better, the focus is more on different people from various walks of lives and experiences coming together and working harmoniously. You could learn a lot from another person’s experiences and perspectives. This could encourage a work culture that is open, collaborative and cohesive.
Thus, we can see that companies could really benefit from giving greater emphasis to women in leadership roles. Besides, I believe that women are more receptive to working together and are generally more open to collaborative work. However, I do not deny that when women are in close competition, things may turn sour. One of my favourite bloggers, Aida Azlin, wrote in one of her Tuesday Love Letters to her subscribers, “Always community over competition and that once we surround ourselves with women we can grow with, success is ours for the taking. That is, success is not just mine or hers or yours, but ours.” Competition is good, but we have to also help each other to succeed. This applies not only to women, but everyone in entirety.
It is not merely about “handing” it to women because feminists have been stomping their feet about equality. I believe it really is about balance and that everyone, those who are male or female or identify as male or female have the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. We need to change our mind sets and realize that everyone has value to bring to the table. Let’s hope that in the near future we will no longer have to shout for gender equality in the workplace.