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we're working on closing the gender leadership gap

If you’re familiar with the female factor, you may have heard before that we are on a mission to close the gender leadership gap. But wait, what is that?

The gender leadership gap is the difference in share between men and women occupying positions at leadership level.

Simply put, it is the lack of women in leadership positions. According to the World Economic Forum, women occupy just 33% of leadership positions globally as of 2022. The share of female leaders incrementally decreases as you look at higher levels, with Catalyst reporting only 29% of CEOs and Board Members are women.

At the current rate of progress, it will take 132 years to close the global gender gap.

why does this gap exist?

why is this a problem?

If the above list doesn't already answer that question, the impact of this gap becomes clearer when you see it contrasted against workplaces with more diverse leadership.

When women are underrepresented in leadership positions, it can lead to a lack of diversity in decision-making and a missed opportunity to benefit from different perspectives and ideas. It can also lead to a lack of understanding and empathy for women and other underrepresented groups, which negatively impacts the employee experience and leads to higher turnover rates.

Furthermore, it creates a culture of bias and discrimination that leads to a lack of trust and low morale among employees, ultimately impacting the employer brand and reducing the possibility of attracting diverse talent.

why should you care?

A balanced and diverse workplace is more profitable, makes better business decisions, has a better employer brand and creates a better working environment for everyone.

We all feel happier and more productive when working in an equitable environment that gives everyone the space to be seen, heard, feel valued and given the opportunity to grow and progress.

Companies with inclusive policies are 63% more likely to have increased profitability and productivity, 60% more likely to attract and retain talent, 59% more likely to have greater creativity, innovation and openness and 58% more likely to have an enhanced company reputation according to the International Labour Organisation. Not to mention that when companies perform better financially, it also means higher income potential and a stronger economy.

All genders benefit from having more women in leadership positions, as it may break down stereotypes and biases that can also limit opportunities and career advancement for others. Having more diverse leadership will lead to better workplace policies that are beneficial for all genders. We believe it is a moral and ethical responsibility for anyone in a position of power or influence to care about closing the gender leadership gap.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and everyone has a role to play in creating a more equitable and fair society for all. The World Economic Forum estimates we need another 132 years to reach gender equality, so women stepping up in leadership roles will play a crucial part in closing the overall gap sooner.

where do we start with closing the gap?

The female factor as an organisation aims to close the gender leadership gap through these pillars:

1. Our programs and services are supporting women in boosting their confidence, competence and connections, the three main factors for workplace success and to get into a leadership position.

2. Female-friendly and diversity-focused employers on the other side are actively supported in progressing in their diversity & inclusion journey through awareness training, consulting, retention programs and executive search.

The World Economic Forum estimates we need another 132 years to reach gender equality, so women stepping up in leadership roles will play a crucial part in closing the overall gap sooner.

what can individuals do about this? Time to check your bias

educate yourself and then others

First things first, start with the basics and educate yourself on the gender leadership gap. In particular, look into how it affects the workplace you’re currently in. What is the current gender leadership gap in your industry, position and company? How is your company performing compared to the industry average?

talk about it! Even better- to your employer

Speak to your employer about whether there are any internal measures to close the gender gap within your company. Even if there isn’t, asking the question demonstrates that there is a demand for it within the company. You may feel like you’re adding more demands for your employer, but if no one is talking about it then change will never happen. Someone has to initiate the conversation.

empower and encourage other women

Encourage your female colleagues to put themselves forward for promotion and afford them the opportunities to showcase their potential rather than making them prove it in advance. It’s sad, but it’s been proven that men get promoted on their potential whereas women get promoted on their past experience.

call out bias when you see it

If you’re not a decision maker, then empower yourself to call out bias when you see it. As long as you do it in a respectful manner, then there won’t be any negative consequences.

what can companies do about it?

conduct an internal audit

Conduct an internal audit to figure out where your company stands regarding the gender gap. Do this in order to figure out the ratio split between women and men company wide, in different departments and at leadership level. Set goals and KPIs to close the gender gap and track them accordingly. Set a target date for when your company wants to reach parity and track the progress made each year to ensure work is being done. Where you notice slow progress, check out some of the other tips to help you close it quicker.

check your bias

Time to check your bias, are you promoting men over women based on outdated stereotypes? Is she really too emotional, is she really going to quit after maternity leave or is that just your bias? These provocative questions need to be at the forefront of every decision maker's mind when it comes to promotion talks.

get management buy-in

We’d love to assume people would implement DEI efforts because it’s the right thing to do. But every now and then we all need a little incentive to really get the ball rolling and keep all parties accountable. Get your company’s management to buy into this by introducing incentives for decision makers to implement and maintain these initiatives. One example would be to tie bonus payments to DEI KPIs and yearly goals.

set up internal initiatives

Sadly, the gender gap isn’t going to just magically close. Accept it and be committed to put in the work to push change. Set up internal initiatives, such as a mentoring scheme, fast-track leadership programmes and training courses to upskill and prepare your female employees to step into leadership roles. Often it doesn’t come down to skillset, it comes down to confidence. If women don’t feel prepared (and like they already exceed the criteria) to step into a leadership role, then they won’t. Trial different ways to overcome this within your organisation.

work with us

Need some help getting started? The female factor can help you develop internal initiatives and programmes for your female employees that enables them to build the confidence, competence and connections they need to progress to the next step of leadership. We can support you in attracting the right female candidate for your open positions and can even conduct an audit for you. Let’s collectively make the phrase: “We couldn’t find a woman for this role” a thing of the past.

Disclaimer: Whilst our mission is focused on closing the gendered leadership gap, we advocate for all forms of diversity and inclusion with our clients in regards to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and identification. We regard women as any self-identifying women, (always written as women). Whilst this content is aimed at women and is informed by their experiences, we believe this information is beneficial and useful for men and those who identify as non-binary. We hope one day we conquer our mission, but don’t worry we’ll be onto the next diversity dimension when it’s time to do so.


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