In a nation as diverse and vibrant as India, diversity and the inclusion of women in all workplaces is essential to embark on a journey towards progress and social transformation. Women leaders are needed worldwide, from leading businesses to running nations.
According to the recent DivHERsity Benchmarking Report 2022–2023 powered by HerKey (formerly JobsForHer), the hiring of women at mid-management to senior levels in India witnessed a remarkable increase. In 2021, women accounted for 19% of the hires in these positions, and by 2022, this percentage rose to 26%. It is noteworthy that in 2022, the representation of women in senior leadership positions among the participating companies reached 37%, which is equal to the proportion of women at the entry level.
Even though women enter the workforce in equal numbers as men, a woman's career ladder is often an uphill battle. From having effective workplace rules, processes, and support in place to offering exceptional benefits, a strong commitment to inclusiveness, and networking opportunities, organisations need to put these strategies in place to attract, retain and develop more women leaders.
Mentioned below are some of the crucial strategies for promoting women's leadership:
Offering development programs
Companies should offer leadership development programs that address gender-specific challenges, foster confidence, and promote equality. By nurturing women's leadership potential, they contribute to a more inclusive and diverse workforce, benefiting organisations and society. Learning is a critical enabler of the leadership ladder, and the report shows that 76% of companies provide leadership training programs, while 57% are exclusively for women.
Leaders need a network of champions who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy. Women's networks play a crucial role in supporting and fostering a sense of community among women. Firms should provide a platform for women to connect, learn from each other, and share experiences. These networks also enable women to provide feedback on policies and practices, ensuring they are inclusive and address their unique needs. Professional networks enable women to create meaningful connections, advance their careers, and break through barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries.
Recognising and honouring women's accomplishments play a major role in encouraging future generations and catalysing the emergence of women in leadership roles. By sharing the stories and appreciating the motives of successful women in the organisation, women can inspire others and build a supportive ecosystem that encourages gender diversity and leadership.
The power of allies
Men play a vital role in supporting women as they ascend to leadership roles. As colleagues and superiors, men can actively engage as mentors and coaches for women professionals, believing in their capabilities and advocating for their progress. By fostering a strong support network both at work and at home, women can pursue their careers while still pursuing personal aspirations.
Moreover, men must embrace diverse perspectives from women, fostering creativity and improving decisions. Addressing biases and encouraging debates leads to better outcomes and an inclusive workplace. Together, we create an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, feels valued, respected, and empowered, contributing to a brighter, more inclusive future.
Amplifying voices for a sustainable future
Achieving gender equality is a collective effort, requiring collaboration from individuals, societies, governments, and organizations. It's both a moral imperative and a strategic advantage. By implementing these strategies, we create diverse, inclusive workplaces and nurture future leaders. Gender equality is integral to our sustainable development goals. While it comes with challenges, embracing these approaches helps leaders identify disparities, set goals, and create an environment where everyone can succeed, regardless of gender.