Why there aren’t enough female leaders

Feminine gamification viewpoint: Why there aren’t enough female leaders

I always have an interest in the discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos and in my curiosity, I stumbled across this image, which portrays the statistics of why there aren’t enough women leaders.

women leaders pic

I quote from the ‘Future of jobs’ report:

“Female talent remains one of the most under- utilized business resources, either squandered through lack of progression or untapped from the onset. Although women are, on average, more educated than men globally and now participate more fully in professional and technical occupations than 10 years ago, as of today, their chances to rise to positions of leadership are only 28% of those of men. Women continue to make up less of the labour force overall than men, and where they participate in the formal economy their earnings for similar work are lower.

Our respondents perceive a wide range of rationales for promoting workplace gender parity, varying with the specific situation of different industries. Overall, the most frequently cited reason for promoting female talent is the ethical imperative “fairness and equality”, which was chosen by 42% of respondents. Over a fifth of companies each are further motivated by a range of rationales more closely tied to the success of their business—enhancing innovation and decision-making or reflecting the gender composition of their customer base.”

The statistics aren’t rosy, but we knew that for some time, but the rationale for why women are promoted definitely is not a reason why I would like to be promoted. It seems like the ‘token women’ approach, because we need to be seen as equal is quite rife around the globe. So while a women has 28% chance of getting promoted, 42% of the time it’s because of “fairness and equality”?! Seriously?!

I knew the picture isn’t good and having worked for the past 20 years in a variety of industries, I have come across a fair amount of bias even in very well ranked ‘equal’ societies and businesses. I was discussing this with a friend this week, that unless work structures change dramatically, I am afraid the picture won’t change. Most women are the main care giver, home-maker etc as well as having a career and when asked about priorities life in general is more complex for a women. I don’t if it is societal influence but in the image confidence and aspirations are a disturbingly large factor and from my own circle a definite issue.

With my gamification hat on, then I look for ways to twist the stats into a different direction. In games we are all the same earning new levels on merit, men and women may gravitate towards a different kind of game, but the skills to play from start to higher levels can be nurtured by either gender over time and with practise. I personally believe the game of leadership and business is no different in that. Having the opportunity is the biggest challenge, based on the above bleak picture. In order to change the behaviour, the playing field needs to be levelled and in my view the structure of work needs a dramatic overhaul.

I am lucky to be associating with a number of forward thinking entrepreneurs, who enjoy travel, life and business on their own terms. For a female mindset having the freedom to put the priorities in the order of the day is amazingly empowering, yet most work structures are 9-5 and fixed locations. Most of my entrepreneurial friends, work around their children or family requirements without letting any of them down. To me levelling the playing field and making the game truly equal, it is important to be accepting of differences in ways and style of working as well as continuously showing role models in both genders and calling out cognitive bias.

What gamification techniques would you apply to re-balance this situation?

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