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The Invisible Woman

By October 14, 2013December 19th, 2016No Comments

invisiblewoman“. . . we will no longer be led only by that half of the population whose socialisation through toys, games, values and expectations, sanctions violence as the final assertion of manhood, synonymous with nationhood. ” – Wilma Scott Heide (1921-1985), American sociologist, nurse, feminist

There is a question which is on the lips of many senior recruiters, executives and changemakers who really want to see equity in the corporate arena going forward into the mid 21st century.

Where are all of the female leaders?

This isn’t a trite question; the rapidity with which senior female figures are disappearing, whether through a move to entrepreneurial efforts, not for profit, or simply because they have had enough of banging their head against that still incredibly thick glass ceiling is frightening.

And the disappearance of female leadership isn’t just a diversity issue; it’s a leadership issue for every organisation attempting to plan for the future.

As stated above, we are losing women in the workplace for a number of reasons – they’ve hit the glass ceiling, they’re sick of a lack of pay equity, the lack of flexiblity, the cost of child care, the non-parity of promotional opportunities; but there is more to worry about, that has a far longer lasting impact.

Yes, women still only earn 83.5 cents in the dollar for the same work as a man in Australia. Yes, many have choices determined by what child care is available. But for some, it doesn’t even get to this point.

The majority of university graduates in Australia in 2012 were women, yet the pay gap between Australian female university graduates and their male colleagues more than doubled last year. Doubled. 

Women account for 80% of global purchasing according to The Economist.  Women make two thirds of household purchasing decisions,  including vehicles and properties. Women are becoming more and more financially aware and independent – and yet organisations that want to speak to this audience , that want to connect with their customers are failing to have a equal representation of male and female leaders at the top.

The lack of female leaders now will affect the lack of female leadership tomorrow. There will be no funnelling of talent. No mentoring. No active sponsoring of younger women – because the senior female leaders simply won’t be there to see these things put in place.

The lost investment in talent – in smart, savvy, knowledgable and above all women who are able to make a difference and ensure that equality and parity is kept and balance is maintained is astonishing – and yet organisations are willing to let this happen and incur the cost to re-recruit vs retain.

The sad thing is? There’s such an easy fix.

Listen to what the senior women in your organisations are saying now.

Or next week, or next month, a group of men will be standing scratching their heads, saying ‘well, obviously she didn’t believe in the company’s vision’ while one or two true champions of change beat their heads against the boardroom wall…

Knowing that the company’s vision didn’t believe in them.

It may take a village to raise a child…

But it takes a company to raise an attitude.

janine sig

 

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