1. Underrepresented in leadershipDespite the fact that most industry players value female leadership characteristics, there is still a gender stigma of whether female entrepreneurs will outperform their male counterparts, considering their capabilities and aggressiveness in running a business. In reality, according to the Women in the workplace study 2022, women in business are still dramatically underrepresented in senior leadership roles, where only 25% of US C-suite executives are women. (1). If we look at junior-level manager roles, 87 women compared to 100 men are being promoted, suggesting a gender gap in the general industry, and society is still questioning women's leadership capabilities. Ask Annie: What is your advice to overcome this stereotype label for a female leader who aims to be successful in work? If you aim to climb up the corporate ladder as a successful female leader, change your perception of inspiring yourself to be the "iron lady" image to pursue, but rather focus on your people's needs and feel the need to connect with them. Embrace your unique caring female characteristic; team members are highly devoted to a team when they feel included, valued, and encouraged to be who they are.
2. Gender equality in hiringFrom a Spain research with over 1,372 real job posting vacancies with varied qualifications and responsibilities to tackle gender bias issues, males received a higher rate of interview invites (30% higher) than female applicants under equal terms and conditions (2). Female candidates suffered more gender discrimination when the female is a mother with children (36% lower interview invites) compared to a father applicant with children when they apply for a job (3). Although there were no gender biases present when female candidates had higher education qualifications, employers' stereotypes and unfavorable perceptions about working mothers' capabilities were significantly proven. Ask Annie: As a successful woman in business, what common myth do you believe is not true as a barrier that stops female employees from progressing? What is your advice to the hiring managers? The most misconception of women is society's perception that single women tend to work harder and are more energetic and passionate in work. However, when they form their families, the prioritization changes from work to the family as a caregiver. From a business perspective, productivity matters more than the number of hours worked. A person can work long hours per week, but that doesn't equal efficiency. In AYP, beginning with the end in mind and achieving the goals within the working hours are more valuable than long hours of committed work. This theory applies to family; quality family time matters more than the hours spent with the family. My advice to the hiring and HR managers to stop discriminating against working mothers will be that every mum aspires to be a role model for their kids. Hence, mothers like this will set a high standard in work as they wish their kids could eventually contribute to the economy.
3. Women in the HR industryEven though hiring female employees in certain industries, such as IT and construction, continue to be a challenge to achieve gender equality, females tend to outnumber their male counterparts in the HR industry. Even back in 2010, there were 52% more female than male HR managers (48%). From the latest 2021 statistics, there are 338,841 HR managers currently employed in the US (5), and the proportion of female managers in the HR sector has increased to 70% compared to 30% of male HR managers. Ask Annie: Coming from an HR background to transforming into a successful HR entrepreneur leader, what unique female characteristics or personalities do you believe have enabled females to be successful role models in the HR industry?
AYP advice to HR managers:HR is a people-centric department. HR is not only about hiring and ensuring vacancies are filled. To succeed in HR, you must constantly connect, engage, and understand people's needs. In terms of unique characteristics, the peacemaker or the steadiness and conscientiousness (SC) personality type under the DISC personality assessment will do well in HR; This is because a successful HR manager will need to build good relationships and communication not only with the candidates but the hiring managers and partners. It is a people management skill, not managing tasks. I think having more emphatic skills makes a female more successful in an HR career; listening with empathy enables people who share in developing a deep connection with the HR professional. Candidates or employees are willing to share more if they perceive that the listener truly understands their feelings and situations. Only through empathy and listening can trust be developed subsequently, which is the foundation of all relationships. I would advise all HR managers, regardless of their gender, to always seek to build trust among the people they interact with, with an authentic attitude.
Does remote work promote gender equality work opportunities?Women who work have shown appreciation for remote working arrangements from several findings:
- Women are 26% more likely than males to apply for remote jobs on LinkedIn, from the 2021 LinkedIn study.
- Only 1 in 10 women would prefer to work on-site if they were allowed to choose, and remote and hybrid work options were the top attractive points for them to decide to join or stay with a company (4).
- The flexible working arrangement and working from home or anywhere work environment enable working mothers to spend less time traveling and taking care of their family needs.
- US females were 1.5 times higher than males to leave their company to work with another company that values and are more committed to diversity and inclusion or DEI initiatives, as 40% of females reported that they have been overworking. Yet, their efforts weren't acknowledged during the performance review.
- Women with disabilities and the minor ethnicity group are 1.5 times higher to experience microaggressions, implying their incompetence during work. Remote work reduces women's likelihood of discrimination in a segregated environment, ensuring their psychological security.