Female leadership in Europe still lags behind male counterparts

Female leadership in europe lags | Female leadership in Europe still lags behind male counterpartsOn April 14, 2014, the European Commission released their 2013 study on progress of gender equality in the workplace. The EU, through the Strategy for Equality 2010-2015, is seeing positive results from this campaign, but European men continue to earn 16% more than women.

Although women in Europe have made significant advances over the last fifty years, they continue to be employed at lower rates than men, with lower salaries. Additionally women are underrepresented in political positions, despite being better educated than their male counterparts. If Europe is going to remain competitive as a region and economically viable in the world, it needs the contributions of its women, more than just from an ethical and equality standpoint. The birthrate in Europe continues to decline, which will shrink the available workforce. Yet the demands for workers will remain the same.

In 2007, a comprehensive study of female participation in the workforce in Europe was conducted by the German office of McKinsey & Company, a global management and consulting firm. (Link to http://www.mckinsey.com/) Comparative data from 25 European countries was analyzed to provide some insight into the continued disparity between men and women in leadership roles in the work place and political environment.

The 2007 McKinsey & Company study examined some of the key reasons that European women continue to earn less and hold fewer leadership roles than men.

Key takeaways from the study:

The study assessed that inequality continues to persist because of:
  • Entrenched beliefs and pervasive “myths” about work and family (cultural norms)
  • Structural barriers (disincentives in tax codes, not enough flexibility)
  • Under representation of women in senior leadership roles and politics
  • Financial gap between men and women
Significant barriers to women working include:
  • Childcare (cost or inaccessibility)
  • Burden of caring for children and elderly (inflexible work schedules)
  • Taxation that de-incentivizes going to work (no tax breaks for childcare)
  • Perceived career disadvantage for mothers


The EU Strategy for Equality 2010-2015 is focused on implementing changes to reduce many of these barriers and increase the rate of employed women to men. As a result, 63% of women are currently in the work force. Funding has been allocated specifically to promoting women in the labor market and to better and more child care facilities, among other initiatives.

One of the more successful elements of the EU Strategy for Equality 2010-2015 is the increase of women serving on company boards. In 2010, women only comprised 11% of company Boards, but in 2014, that has increased to 17.8%.

Despite the successes of the EU strategy, women still face obstacles to working and remain behind their male counterparts. The McKinsey & Company study concludes that it will be necessary for governments, companies, and men and women to work together to remove these barriers.

In 2014, Women a Growing Part of Workplace Vision

Women of the WorldThere is a difference between hiring for diversity’s sake and hiring a diverse staff in order to improve the effectiveness of an organization. The bottom line is this: companies with women on their board of directors are by and large more financially successfully than those without. If you’re looking to up your profits, hiring women in executive positions is the way to start.

There are three ways to get women moving up the corporate ladder.

  1. First, we can provide formal mentoring programs within the company. Whenever there is an internal conference, training hours, or even an employee-driven focus group, women are almost guaranteed to be the lesser-represented sex.  Moreover, women also tend to be seated together – not necessarily in a conscious show of solidarity, but simply because women are more likely to be taken seriously by other women. Both of these points hinder communication across gender lines, which can decrease a company’s effectiveness and also put a stop to promotions of women leaders.
  2. Second, companies can provide internal development opportunities. As the number of senior women in the corporate world is limited, it would serve us well to begin utilizing those few in a formal role model capacity. This would not only increase employee loyalty to a company, but also better prepare women to move into a supervisory or upper managerial capacity.
  3. Lastly, too often a company will seek out upper-level executives from rival companies, as opposed to recruiting those who are already familiar with corporate goals and policies. There are capable women within your organization who are ready to move on up within your organization. The time investment on the part of the employee and the employer is often too great to be ignored when searching to fill board positions. Why waste an employee that has proven growth potential to outsource execs?

Authentic Leadership International, LLC believes in an effective workplace and believes in women being a part of that vision. Let us help you to maximize your efficiency and diversify your workforce by tapping into an often passed-by opportunity: the women already fueling your organization.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-companies-can-advance-women-in-leadership-2014-1

A More Successful Career in 2014

2014Looking back at the 2013 calendar year, we’ve seen some very encouraging trends in business both in our home country and abroad, especially regarding women in the boardroom. It’s no secret that the corporate culture has been largely dominated by men through the history of the business world. A few important strides in the opposite direction, however, has many hopeful for times of openness and opportunities for new voices in the American corporate sector.

As this article published by The Huffington Post discusses, 2013 was a banner year for corporate career women in a few respects. For starters, this year saw the first appointment of a female CEO to lead one the leading corporations in the American automotive industry. Mary Barra took over the reins of General Motors, which is a corporation that has arrived at much stabler times since the global financial crisis hit in 2008.

Ms. Barra took a path to the boardroom that prepared her well to assume a leadership position as part of a culture where women are the minority. Early in her career, she focused on succeeding in an engineering career, an area where female professionals were exceptionally rare. GM also benefits by being able to position itself as an incredibly progressive corporation sporting a female CEO and a board of directors that includes five women.

Twitter is another company that has responded favorably to public calls for women in the corporate workplace. When the company went for its initial public offering on the stock market, there was some outcry that the social media giant had no women serving roles high up within the organization. By appointing Marjorie Scardino, a formerly successful CEO of Pearson, Plc, Twitter managed to greatly improve its public image by choosing not just a female board member, but one with a proven track record in business.

Now that 2014 is here, let’s find even more reasons to be optimistic about the place of women in positions of leadership. Authentic Leadership International is here to help you achieve important professional goals and help you get ahead in your career with our leadership development services. Contact us to find out how you might enjoy a more successful career in 2014.

Women of the World, Unite!

When you hear the word vision, what do you think of? Probably of going to the optometrist and getting your eyes checked – 20/20 and so forth. But vision is much, much more than that. It is a very hefty term, for it deals with your dreams and your future. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “an experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition.” That is the vision I am referring to, the ability to transform your dreams and your future into an almost-physical thing. For many, that is an impossible task. Given the state of the world, “visions” are often chucked out the window of the moving car of life. We just don’t have time for them. This is no good for our lives, personally and professionally. What to do then?

women in the workplaceAt Authentic Leadership International, a Leadership Development firm specializing in Executive Coaching and Leadership Development, our  over eleven years of experience have helped us get clear on exactly how to harness someone’s vision and enhance their leadership so they are able to better impact the world around them. Whether you are one person, a small business or a Fortune 500 company that puts Wall Street on notice, Authentic Leadership International will take anyone to that next level. In particular, we are passionate about women in business spheres all over the world and we want them to grow as leaders. This depends on opportunity and equality.

Opportunity and equality – two things that should be expected in a forward-thinking nation and, for the most part, a forward-thinking world. That is sadly not the case. If anything, 2013 has showed that we as a society still have a long way to go in terms of providing equal opportunity for all. Because of this unfavorable atmosphere, many of us cannot develop proper leadership skills; our growth clearly suffers on all fronts – emotionally, mentally and spiritually. So, where does that leave the vast majority of us, who struggle with control in our lives, who struggle with leadership in our work? Without opportunity and equality, many cannot develop into leaders.

The business sector, for example, is still predominantly male. Since it is unequal, the opportunity just isn’t there. In the article, “The Top 5 Ways Firms Can Advance Women,” Cheryl Carleton of Villanova School of Business writes, “Why are there so few women as we look up the rungs of the job ladder? How do we stop talented and successful women from the highest levels in their careers from leaving the labor force?” Carleton is asking some serious questions here. After a while in the labor force, great women hit a ceiling and can’t move forward. With no other alternative, they leave that industry altogether. This creates a dearth of senior female leadership.

In Carleton’s eyes, this can be fixed in five different ways: accountability, measuring and rewarding valuable yet invisible work, rethinking scheduling, addressing workplace culture and being an example. Would this solve the draught of senior female leadership? Perhaps. It would make women happier in the workplace. But what Carleton doesn’t address is vision, how it must be cultivated so women are able to transform their dreams and future into an almost-physical thing, something tangible that they can touch. That is where we come in, Authentic Leadership International.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-top-5-ways-firms-can-advance-women-2013-12