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Why are there more women in management levels?

Why are there more women in management levels?

You don't have to be a feminist to want to promote women in companies. You just have to be able to count well.

Our world would be a better place if more women were in charge at more companies. Strong women in key positions in a company means competitive advantage. A company culture of equal cooperation ensures greater satisfaction, better economic performance and good value creation for talent.

And the numbers show that too. For example, the Gender Equality Index compiled by the OECD shows that countries with a high level of equality – and therefore more women in creative positions – enjoy higher prosperity and symptom-free lives from age 65 for all genders.

It's an absurd situation: Although it has been proven time and time again that companies, countries and other social systems benefit from the presence of women in leadership positions, at the same time women are systematically disempowered and denied success in many places. Women remain underrepresented and disadvantaged in many areas of life – including in businesses. According to the “Mixed Leadership Barometer” prepared by audit firm EY, only 11.9% of the executive board and 31% of the terms of the supervisory boards of Austria’s largest listed companies listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange index are currently held by women. 59% of companies do not have women on their boards. Only one company has more than one woman on its board of directors! This low number of women in senior management positions is particularly surprising because many studies show that women also achieve excellent results in corporate management.

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The largest study to date on the topic of “Economic Success of Women in Leadership,” conducted by economists Sooung Han and Marcus Noland in 91 countries, shows that a 30% higher proportion of women in corporate management is associated with a 15% improvement. a result . Companies with women in management and on the board have much higher profit margins than companies without female directors.

Female power works

Something similar can be seen in the startup world: according to studies by Boston Consulting Group, startups founded by women (jointly) have 10% more cumulative success over five years and generate 67 cents more in profit each. Every euro invested. In comparison, startups owned by men are much lower, with profits of just 26 cents. On average, founders achieve returns of more than 2.5 times. Despite this performance, female founders receive only half the amount of investment as male founders.

So, you don't have to be a feminist to want to promote women in companies. You just have to be good at math! Especially since the higher economic return speaks not only about women in leadership, but the results of the additional study show that women leaders ensure a better work environment, a more constructive corporate culture, and a more collaborative atmosphere. Simply put, people prefer to work in companies where women have equal say.

The “glass abyss” is real

It has also been proven that women operate more sustainably, and in turbulent times, companies navigate difficulties with greater caution and less economic damage. Such findings mean that women are increasingly being involved in corporate management, especially when a company is in crisis. These situations in which women are brought into power out of sheer desperation are described as “glass cliffs”: circumstances in which the risk of failure is particularly high. As an organizational developer, I am often called upon in such situations and always ask myself why companies don't rely more on the strength, leadership, insight and wisdom that female managers have in good times.

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It is important for me personally to use International Women's Day to encourage companies to promote women in an organized way. Effective empowerment of women in companies involves targeted measures to strengthen women mentally, organizationally and financially in the company. The following are especially effective:

Women in the foreground: If women have central leadership positions, the greatest vehicle for entrepreneurial success is in the right hands.

Women's successes show: The visible successes women achieve empowers other women to believe in themselves as well. There is a need for female role models at all levels to give room for women's strengths to develop.

Make things big instead of talking down: Often, women not only underestimate their own successes, but are often judged critically by others. Their achievements are minimized, denied, or attention is drawn to their appearance. This is especially true for women in the public eye and in leadership positions. Companies in particular have the ability to comment on women's achievements and successes with great respect.

Debunking stereotypes: Common success traps for women are stereotypes and conscious or unconscious prejudices. Companies have the ability to decide where to focus the spotlight and what reality applies. Are they traditional qualities or respectable perceptions? Raising awareness about stereotypical traps and constantly encouraging people to stay away from them should be the cutting edge for companies in 2024.

Strengthening brotherhood: When women give each other trust and support, corporate performance dynamics multiply. This culture of teamwork is easy to promote once a company decides to establish brotherhood as part of the company culture. This culture of empowering collaboration empowers women and strengthens companies.

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Money is power: Women's power goes hand in hand with fair pay. Companies still have a lot to do here: economic honesty towards all employees is the foundation of true appreciation and equality.

By empowering women in companies well, companies can and should make a real impact on equality. Not just out of decency and fairness, but also out of common sense in entrepreneurship: anyone with multiple strong women in their company has a clear competitive advantage. Companies that rely on women are more stable and healthier – both economically and in terms of corporate culture. Empowering women is not a social enterprise, but a necessity if we want to make businesses more successful and make our world worth living in.

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(Philip Raddon)

Nathalie Carré is an organizational developer, leader, business angel, and women's empowerment activist. Through her initiative Women4Women and her best-selling book “The Power Effect” (Kneipp Verlag, 144 pages, 2023) she works to promote greater female success.

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