Governments, global organizations have been progressively shifting gears toward more inclusive, open-minded, and acceptive society. Gone are the days when countries had to fight for their independence and people waged wars for their freedom, at least for the most part. Today, governments are very proactive in engaging with citizens to address their community’s concerns. However, it’s easier said than done when it comes to gender parity in today’s workplace, where the battle for equality and more gender-inclusive industries that accept women in senior leadership roles still wages on.
Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) shed light on numerous issues regarding gender diversity in mid-market businesses. According to the report, this year’s analysis reveals that the number of women in senior management positions remains alarmingly low. Numbers show that globally, 32.4% of senior management positions in mid-market businesses are now held by women, which is an increase of just half a percentage point since 2022 and only 13 percentage points since the research was first undertaken in 2004. The research concludes that at this rate, just 34% of senior leadership positions will be held by women in 2025.
Furthermore, Grant Thornton’s IBR was able to survey more than 100 mid-market companies in the Philippines across various industries. The data showed that nearly half or 49% of senior management roles are held by women, notches higher than 39% recorded in 2022. The majority of respondents shared that the corporate positions held by women within their organizations include Chief Finance Officer and Human Resources Director. Nearly half or 42% of firms interviewed also said that their Sales Directors are women.
To address the global gender gap, Grant Thornton is making stronger global calls more effectively for gender parity and understands that intentional action from businesses is crucial in accelerating progress. Astoundingly, our 21st century society has progressed at a very rapid pace, actively voicing out and tackling every social problem that has come about. And while that is enough to propel us in the right direction regarding equal rights for hardworking women in the business industry, we need to do more to fight not just for the equality of women in senior leadership roles, but for everyone with the same plight. Hence, here are some recommendations arising from the IBR research that I would like to advocate in emphasizing the need for companies to help promote gender parity.
Women are powerhouses. Not only do they juggle being career women, but they also carry the responsibility of being loving mothers and wives, dependable friends, and other personal obligations that they continuously try to balance. If we want gender parity, then simply offering flexible work options and work hours will do wonders. Businesses should adopt a hybrid or flexible approach, where possible, to create an environment that generates greater diversity among senior leadership teams. Pairing this with a culture which is supportive and understanding of women’s needs is vital in bringing us closer to gender equality in the workplace.
Showcase actions with purpose and intent
Obviously, the most common way to change things is by acting upon them. Businesses must accelerate and closely monitor initiatives specifically designed to encourage greater diversity in senior leadership, including women-only programs. If more programs, courses, and seminars about gender parity are held, then they will cultivate a sense of enrichment among both men and women, opening doors and minds to the possibility of a healthier workplace. Only with greater intent would we be able to organize our thoughts and opinions collectively in a proper manner.
Be transparent and nurturing
According to a McKinsey article, women are leaving their offices in record numbers because they know what they want in a job position and are demanding more to get it. Recognizing the needs of women in their careers and implementing policies that promote their well-being are extremely crucial. If businesses can keep and nurture their talented male individuals to keep them from leaving, then they should do the same with their equally talented and overlooked female leaders.
In the post-pandemic world, people are now uncovering more issues when it comes to women equality in the workplace. For one, a Forbes article shed light on “she-cession,” a term used to describe the phenomenon where women lost more jobs than men during the pandemic. Businesses now calling for a “return to the workplace” must consider the effect that this will have on diversity and must also understand that this may have unintended consequences. It was a unique difficulty that women had to face, as mothers who were also full-time career women had to juggle the task of being caring mothers for their children. This simultaneous shift in responsibility and time brings additional burden on women.
We have made great strides toward the promotion of gender equality in society, and we are still far from achieving our shared goal of gender parity in the workplace. But while it is difficult, it is high time that we place this goal far up our company policies and work relentlessly to make everyone understand the positive implications that gender equality at work brings. Our society has progressed over centuries of technological and social advancements, so why can’t we put a lid on gender inequality? Well, I believe that it is high time that we should.
As published in The Manila Times, dated 09 March 2023