There are still fewer women than men in leadership positions. This is an undeniable statement and is largely due to cultural and historical factors, which we are still struggling with today. But this is a trend that will not continue over time.

Companies are already awake to the issues of gender inequality and many have tried to bridge the imbalance, much because they have realized that diversity is essential to the organization. Both men and women are needed to keep a company balanced and healthy. You have to do something we call "power balancing". And women, in general, have characteristics that can make them excellent leaders.

Yet female leadership is still not a reality in most companies, and we must ask ourselves why. How is it that there are so many women in organizations, but so few in leadership positions? How is it that female talent is being lost in the hierarchical pyramid, when studies show that there are more women leaving college and many of them are better prepared technically?

There are several explanations for this phenomenon. First, the most obvious reason: the balance between work and family life. In all societies, but especially in Latin ones like ours, the maternal role is essential to the family structure. Statistically, women also end up working more hours at home, which means that after a day's work they still have to work part-time to finish the housework.

Then there are historical and social issues, which often go through the upbringing we all had. Many of us have prejudices, even without realizing it, rooted in our development, and it is up to us to educate our children better and more consciously. Also the issue of networking is easier for men, which makes women less remembered when it comes to ascending professionally.

The key is to realize that this lack of opportunity is never about some gap in technical skills. As a rule, women are overprepared. What is usually missing are the soft skills, the belief that they are capable of meeting the challenge, the courage to speak out, the willingness to be in environments often still dominated by men. This is part of the work we have been developing at Nova, through programs such as Promova,┬ádeveloped in partnership with CIP - Confedera├ž├úo Empresarial de Portugal, and the Women's Leadership Program,┬ácreated in partnership with StartSe University.

To boost female leadership, it is necessary to accept and take advantage of the differences that exist between men and women and give everyone the opportunity to contribute in the same way, from an equal place. On the women's side, it is necessary to take the lead, not to be afraid, to be able to express themselves and to aim for their goals and achievements, whatever their career choices may be. Men must allow this leap, give them space, and recognize that there is a gain on the other side.

For example, typically, women are stronger in skills involving emotional and social dimensions and tend to be more sensitive and empathetic. These can potentially improve workplaces and foster good leadership practices.

Only by fomenting diversity and ensuring that we all have the possibility to contribute in a complementary way, respecting the essence of each one, can we contribute to building a more collective and prosperous world.

Do you know our
Women's Leadership Program?
Published in 
8/3/2023
 in the area of 
Leadership & People

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