Improving gender balance in boardrooms without enforced quotas
Balanced gender boardrooms are the most successful boardrooms, but everyone around that table should be there based on their skills and capabilities and not because of an enforced quota, says Mel Stead.
As the MD of a growing HR Outsourcing and Recruitment business we support our clients to find the balance they need in the boardroom through strong networks and genuinely understanding the role and the clients’ needs.
It’s an exciting time for our clients, several of them have significant plans for growth which will see more senior opportunities becoming available for women to progress up the corporate ladder. By working in partnership with them and often challenging their thinking, we are cutting through the barrier’s women face by leading the way in ensuring they genuinely consider flexible working, equal maternity and paternity leave, networking opportunities and structured training programmes to attract women into to senior roles within the business.
Overcoming the barriers
Some of the challenge’s women face begin with the pressures of combining childcare, family and work, not all workplaces are where they should be regarding women being discriminated against because of family commitments. In today’s day and age and with the flexibility around parental leave, this just isn’t acceptable and often forces women to choose between becoming a mother and having a career.
Alongside this it’s critically important for women to support each other and act as role models and mentors. One of the biggest challenge’s women face is believing in themselves and stepping outside of their comfort zone. Women tend to have more doubt about their ability and don’t put themselves forward for roles until they are wholly sure they can fulfil the majority of the role, whereas men apply for a role if they think they can fulfil some elements of it which means we are not seeing the same level of female candidates as males when we are recruiting.
Fortunately, the increased presence of networking programmes and events which are now supported by more and more businesses are providing both men and women with the opportunities to become connected, build confidence and advance to senior positions. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn has proven to be an extremely useful tool for keeping up to date with what’s happening in your network.