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The authority on gender empowerment in business for nearly 20 years.

Leadership’s Evolution: A Constant Journey

Written by Editor

July 25, 2023

The strategic value of women in executive roles

By Raine St.Claire

Amidst significant changes, our world confronts a myriad of challenges, encompassing climate action, pandemic repercussions, governance issues, ethical dilemmas, conflicts, and widening disparities on numerous fronts. These challenges serve as a poignant reminder of our interconnectedness within a broader ecosystem, impacting us all.

Whilst abundant research over time has consistently provided undeniable evidence supporting women’s empowerment, numerous studies have illuminated the transformative impact of granting women equal opportunities, access to education, and decision-making roles. 

This movement, driven by extensive and exponential research, emphasises the importance of empowering women as a compelling catalyst for driving societal progress, fostering gender equality, and instigating positive change across various aspects of life.

Amidst the numerous companies committing to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, a new focus on “Belonging” emerges as a transformative addition. Acknowledging the psychological need for connection, acceptance, recognition, and inclusion, “Belonging” transcends mere rhetoric to become a crucial element that fosters genuine engagement and investment in one’s work.

Incorporating diverse skills, perspectives, experiences, insights, and knowledge—spanning demographics and gender—leads to more inclusive and comprehensive decision-making and innovative outcomes. The real magic unfolds in the collaboration of male and female leaders, united by a sense of community fostered by shared values, culture, practices, and policies that transcend individual ambitions and serve a higher purpose.

Gender equity must evolve from being a mere business priority to becoming a core value that permeates every decision at all levels. It requires a shift in culture, mindset, and behaviours, moving beyond numbers and superficial actions. Measuring, monitoring, and reporting on the recruitment, retention, and advancement rates of women are essential steps in this journey, along with inspiring future leaders through the sharing of personal stories.

Corporations and governments should acknowledge the compounded contributions women can bring to sustain and enrich our companies, communities, and society. By embracing unconventional paths to leadership roles, ensuring sustainable succession plans, and nurturing diverse talent through mentorship and opportunities, organisations can accelerate their efforts towards gender equality and women in leadership.

Research findings consistently show that companies with increased female representation in leadership roles tend to experience enhanced financial performance, a result attributed, at least in part, to the diverse viewpoints and compassionate, people-centric leadership style they bring. Moreover, embracing ethical leadership practices aligned with sustainability principles across environmental, social, and governance domains serves as a source of inspiration, engagement, and motivation for employees and stakeholders, propelling them on a transformative path of growth and positive impact.

The business case for gender diversity on boards and executive teams is compelling, particularly in light of current leadership trends, which call for transformational, ethical leadership. As we heed the King IV Codes’ guidance on board composition, acknowledging the importance of skills, experience, independence, race, and gender diversity, we build a powerful case for constructing more diverse corporate leadership.

To foster future-fit leaders, inclusion becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. Aligning with emerging leadership trends, characterised by adaptability to innovative technologies, market predictions through AI, and agile response in a fast-paced world, demands a more diverse and inclusive culture.

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