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Women in Corporate roles

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June 06, 2024

 Why in news?

A recent report highlights that while there has been an increase in women joining the workforce, leadership positions still lack gender parity. 

What are the key highlights of the report?

  • Title- Women in Leadership in Corporate India
  • Released by- LinkedIn and The Quantum Hub
  • Decline in workforce- There has been an overall increase in the representation of women across the workforce to 26.8% in 2024 from 23.9% in 2016, but there has been a decline of 0.5% points between 2022 and 2024.
  • Senior leadership role- The % of women in senior leadership roles has dipped to 18.3% in 2024 from to 18.7% in 2023, after increasing from 16.6% in 2016, but it may go up by the end of the year.
  • There is relatively strong representation at the entry level at 28.7% and senior independent contributor levels at 29.53%.
  • Significant drop- There is a significant drop (18.59%) as women advance to managerial positions, followed by a continuous decline in women’s representation in leadership positions, with 20.1% at director roles, 17.4% at vice president roles and 15.3% at C-suite positions.

Sector wise assessment

  • Highest representation- Industries such as education (30%) and government administration (29%) of women in leadership roles.
  • This is followed by administrative and support services and hospitals and health care, each 23%.
  • Moderate representation- Sectors such as technology, information, and media and financial services each have 19% of women in leadership.
  • Lowest representation- It is found in construction, oil, gas, mining and utilities, each with 11% women leaders, while wholesale and manufacturing have 12%, and accommodation and food services have 15%.
  • Overall improvements- Some industries have seen overall improvements in the % of women leaders hired, such as consumer services, which experienced a significant increase to 37% in 2024 from 30% in 2016. 

What are the major challenges faced by women in the workplace?

  • Gender bias-Preconceived notions about gender roles can affect hiring, promotions, and performance evaluations.
  • Gender pay gap- As per the International Labour (ILO) Organization, on average, women globally are paid about 20 per cent less than men.
  • Glass ceiling- An invisible barrier that prevents women from reaching top executive positions.
  • Glass cliff- Women are more likely to be placed in leadership roles during times of crisis or downturn, making these roles more precarious and high-risk.
  • Lack of flexible work option- Insufficient support for flexible work arrangements can make it difficult for women to balance career and personal life.
  • Career gap-Insufficient programs to help women transition back to work after a career break (pregnancy, childbirth, child care etc.,) can hinder their re-entry into the workforce.
  • Sexual harassment- The MeToo movement brought to notice the horrifying episodes of sexual violence, harassment, and abuse across professional spheres.
  • Imposter syndrome- It is a self-doubting tendency that leads an individual to feel skeptical and underserving of their accomplishments.

A 2020 KPMG study revealed that almost 75% of female executives across industries have faced imposter syndrome.

What should be done?

  • Equal pay advocacy- Organizations and policymakers must prioritize advocating for equal pay, ensuring that women receive remuneration commensurate with their skills and contributions.
  • Strengthening legal enforcement- While legislative frameworks exist, there's a need to reinforce their implementation to ensure swift and stringent action against perpetrators.
  • Promoting confidence building- Mentorship programs, leadership training, and networking opportunities can play a crucial role in fostering self-assurance.
  • Boosting women’s leadership- It should be done in Indian businesses which is crucial for better outcomes.
  • Establishing standardized interview protocols-Implementing standardized interview protocols that strictly prohibit invasive inquiries helps ensure a fair and respectful hiring process for everyone.  

 

References

  1. The Economic Times- Women in Leadership in Corporate
  2. Live Mint- LinkedIn and Quantum Hub report  
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