A female leader is in some ways one who defies the odds. It takes extraordinary capability, high resilience and a strong drive to succeed. For many women, it also takes a strong support system not just at work but also at home to participate and thrive in both. Supporting women leaders in a range of industries is critical for future generations. Giving young women role models to look up to can help encourage them to explore careers in industries and emerging roles that have typically been under-represented by women.
There’s still work to be done
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum (WEF), globally only 55% of women (aged 15 to 64) are engaged in the labor market as opposed to 78% of men. Meanwhile, a 2017 study by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) states that over 48% of women in business find it difficult to build a healthy support network in male-dominated fields.
In general, there is still an emphasis on the importance of women to get married and raise the family. Raising children is by itself truly important work, too. However, these external pressures, lack of support or access to help, are factors that can influence women’s ability to drive their own careers over the long haul.
Helping women rise to leadership positions
Women should be intentionally developed and coached into leadership positions. Inclusion also means that companies must actively close their gender pay gap.
Company policies should support both men’s and women’s rights equally, including on child care. Companies should create safe environments for women to connect, such as leadership groups and mentoring programs.
A female-friendly environment encourages women to speak up. It accepts the different looks and personalities that women – and all genders – come with.
How Siemens supports all employees
Siemens is a company that values excellence and encourages development for all. Working at Siemens has provided me a positive environment in which I can continually grow and develop into my best professional self. For me, it has come from skills training, web-based learning, further education, coaching and mentoring and also from new roles and stretch assignments.
At Siemens, being brave enough to take on opportunities outside my comfort zone has given me the hardest yet most rewarding experiences: applying myself in different functions and business areas, living in different countries, meeting people from different cultures, and even picking up new languages along the way.
I’m interested in hearing about other women’s experiences in the workplace. How have you been supported in your professional growth and how do you support others?