Women HR leaders are creating a niche and making a mark in the otherwise male dominated C-suit level. The journey to the top for these women HR leaders was not simple and still they are fighting up their way to the top.
Although with changing ideologies and beliefs, women representation and C-suit is improving, there are many challenges that still need to be taken care off.
What eludes her own world?
To get the facts straight, more than half of the HR management graduates are women. About 73 per cent of HR practitioners at the manager level are female, according to 2015 Bureau of Labour Statistics data, compared against 43 percent in marketing and 27 percent in IT. But when it comes to people at the helm of the HR function, the scarcity of women is conspicuous.
Women are represented almost equally with men in the workforce. When it comes to low and mid-level management positions women and men are also represented almost evenly. This is not the case with top management positions. Least to say, they also earn less compared to men at the same profile, position and with equal amount of experience.
While women have made enormous advances in education and career but equality in pay and promotions in the workplace still elude them. The reason for this inequality is largely societal.
Researchers claim that gender stereotypes are to be extensively blamed for this inequality, since, as a society, we don't let go of these pigeon-holes. We talk of globalisation and digitisation but deep inside we are still regressive in our thoughts.
Studies also prove that even if men and women leaders exhibit the same behaviours and accomplishments, their effectiveness may be perceived differently. As per 2016 research by American Association of University Women (AAUW), 'time and time again, female leaders are chided for being too bossy, bitchy, cold, or aggressive: characteristics that are at odds with traditionally "feminine" attributes like compassion, warmth, and submissiveness.'
All this is a testimony to the fact that we are unable to get over our pre-conceived notions. And, this is a prime factor which is holding back women from making headways in their related fields.
A report by McKinsey & Co. shows that women face greater barriers to advancement and steeper paths to senior leadership. The rate of progress is so slow that it will take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior VP level and more than 100 years at the C-suite level.
The study further states that women make up about 45 percent of those entering the professional workforce. At the senior management level, that percentage drops to 37 percent, and at the C-suite level to 17 percent. This suggests women face greater barriers to advancement at every level.
While an overwhelming majority of companies report that gender diversity is indeed a top CEO priority, the currents statistics of women leaders tells a completely different picture.
Women rules HR
Despite all the odds, HR still remains one of those rare functions (or may be the only function) to have more women employees.
A competitive job market and technology advances has compelled the function to shift from practical and administrative to strategic and women HR leaders are leading the way. The evolution of HR function as a strategic business function has a lot to do with how the women HR professionals have managed and scaled-up the possibilities of this function. Not just HR, but having women leaders is good for the overall business performance and further aid the growth and development of the nation, as well.
A study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) shows that companies that had majority of board members as women witnesses a substantial 87 per cent better performance than their competition. Better financial performance of the organisations is linked with better economic state - which is able to create greater number of job opportunities, better productivity and more development.
Whilst, the first and foremost thing that is required from all of us is to shun the stereotypes and biases and give both genders an equal opportunity to prove their worth, grow, develop and unleash their potential. Once we are able to do this, we can actually work towards creating a world which is 'fair' and 'equal' in true sense. This beautiful quote nicely sums-up what equality really means and the world must take note:
"You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone." - Tina Fey (American actress, comedian, writer, and producer)