Do we need women in the business world? It is a challenge? Is the marketplace that applies discriminatory policies, or are the women that do not see on business a safe place to keep a life balance: work and family?. Is the business sector attractive enough for women´s needs? or it’s a “man world”, tailored-made for and by men?
Is it about a “galactic woman” different from the rest the answer for facing all those challenges around their nature and approach to the labor environment?
This is just an introduction to the real essence of what means a debate on “women in business” that is: leadership. Is it not exactly true that there is a women’s leadership but simply leadership that only marks the difference through styles, not talent. The sector seems to have created a men’s leadership and any woman that enters should develop a “man´s attitude” to be up to the standards. However, there is nothing in the business sector that cannot be transformed by women´s skills without losing their nature. However, the sector is not prepared to have women among its structure in a way that they can compete on equal terms.
If we see it through the lenses of the SDG´s framework it demands very special attention and a fully new address. SDG5 Gender equality represents one of the big challenges for the next decades particularly in those countries that because of their traditions and religions do not allow women to be fully inserted in the society. Is it so that the lack of equality in the business sector becomes a true boundary to get into the holistically and interlinked Global Goals.
Global sustainability demands more productivity and profitability and lower percentages of women in business suppose a failure that we can hardly achieve without a global approach: all people and sectors harmonically connected.
Worldwide only 5% of the companies have female CEOs and on the top 35 CEOS, only 3 are women. Is it a matter of training, women are not prepared enough for high performance? Is it about high levels in Education or/and being part of economically developed countries? Let’s explore the different possibilities:
Africa holds the highest proportion of women in senior management with 38%
India on the 3d position worldwide, the lowest global representation
European Union: 1out of 3 are Managers
Spain holds one of the highest percentages of women in companies 34%
In the end, we may conclude that the trend is positive: as mid-market companies have now a percentage of 87% -at least one woman in senior management-. The same happens with women entrepreneurship-around 25O million women around the world that has increased by 114% only in the last 20 years, even that they are still falling behind men.
These percentages are telling us that it is not exactly about a galactic woman but certainly about delivering attractive labor conditions that make them better prepared to juggle family-work within a world in constant technological change.
A galactic world that shines within new shades and demands a balance women-men not necessarily in terms of quotas but on a correct parity in terms of opportunities and labor environment. We must accept that despite all advances to insert women in business, the sector seems not to be prepared to attend to specific women´s needs. The role of women in a family is different from men and any effort to build equality does not suppose to deny this fact, but to enable a work environment suitable for all.
Women leadership is not different from men leadership except for certain circumstances and traditions, what is different is the style. Good leadership is only about one although the lenses to see one or another are different.
A “man´s world” is claiming for more equality to gain productivity and the fact that a small percentage of women are in business is a negative fact not only in terms of growth but also to get into global sustainability. Crises as COVID19 marks –once again- the need for holistic approaches, diversity, and balance, making of joint action –women-men- the engine to start the machinery of shades and lights that makes galactic people: resiliently contributing to a sustainable world.