In the week where the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde said that it is ‘politically incorrect’ for firms not to have more women in senior roles, SHARP went out and asked what’s stopping women and how can we get more females into senior roles.
Dr Jill Armstrong, Researcher and Bye-Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Murray Edwards College is leading a programme to tackle the subtle sexisms in UK offices through workshops with more than 5,000 employees this year alone.
“Legislation has come a long way, but women are still experiencing subtle, everyday sexism in the workplace, from getting interrupted more than men do in meetings to being evaluated differently to men.
“This unconscious bias is almost as prevalent in women as it is in men. Accepting that this bias exists and understanding how it makes itself felt across an organisation can go a long way to enabling more women to get to the top of their profession. Rather than blaming men for a culture that we’ve all grown up in, employers can get women and men to problem-solve together to realise the impact of their own actions and level the playing field.”
Dawn-Maria France (award-winning Editor, Broadcaster, writer) Harrogate, North Yorkshire
“The glass ceiling still exists, but is being broken, gradually. According to The Rockefeller Foundation’s Women in Leadership: Why it Matters (2016), women benefit businesses. Women leaders help in reducing the pay gap, in attracting a diverse workforce, and they positively change workplace policies for all. Diverse workforces also improve profitability and performance.
“Alicia Hatch, Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte Digital says, “Women need to support other women, to champion them and push to make their accomplishments seen and heard.”
“We need to create a society where women can succeed and are encouraged into leadership roles. Public policy and investment should encourage women to succeed. Companies need to proactively recruit, support, invest in, celebrate, promote and reward women.Diversity gives businesses a competitive advantage, enabling them to be stronger, more profitable and more successful.
“It is important to publicly acknowledge, promote and celebrate women leaders and their work in the world. Female role models inspire women to aspire to leadership and senior positions, and to achieve great things. Women have played vital roles in developing economies and societies. The more women are seen as leaders, the more everyone recognises this as normal.”
Esther Stanhope is an international speaker, & former live BBC producer, is dedicated to helping women in business from all over the world become confident, charismatic & more visible at work.
The pay gap data that firms have published to date shows that the majority of top-paid positions are filled by men, but with this new legislation in place, there’s never been a better time for women to push for a promotion or pay rise.
The worst that can happen? Your manager will say no. The important thing is to approach the conversation with confidence. Research what similar roles pay at other employers – and even internally, if you can. Decide on what you really want – whether it’s a more senior role, a higher salary or better benefits – and draw up a case: explain to your manager why these requests are justified.
Ensure that your timing is right too: many firms process pay rises at specific points during the year, and you don’t want to miss the boat. If you’re a valued employee who brings a lot to the company, the last thing your boss will want is to lose you to a competitor. Stand strong, demonstrate your worth, and be confident: with businesses looking to improve their pay gap figures, there’s never been a better time to ask.
Donna Elliott, Co-founder of Now this is your Time and Chief of Amazing Transformations.
“As women we often over-think and question our capability – then tell ourselves we aren’t capable of the greatness we would secretly like to achieve. We can sometimes bow out before we get to a certain point in our career so that the rejection doesn’t happen. We need to release our need for external validation and approval. We need to stop questioning and starting showing why we should be in those roles.”
Alexandra Chapman, Head of Marketing at Reece Safety.
“Working in a male dominated industry can be daunting when you’re a woman, but what I’ve found is that you have to let your work do the talking. In my experience this silences the naysayers and companies will recognise your hard work regardless of your sex. Some companies may be more difficult to gain that recognition but keeping your head down and producing great work means you’ll eventually find yourself in the senior role you’ve always deserved.”