Women in Business: Why Aren't There More of Them at the Top?

Women are one of the most underrepresented groups within the business world, and they deserve to have more of a voice and further recognition for their achievements. According to Janet Burns, a writer for Forbes magazine, “A study published by the University of California, Davis last year revealed that big California companies with at least some women at the top performed considerably better than ones with mostly male boards and executives.”

Some female CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies include Michele Buck, who is currently the CEO of Hershey’s and Ursula Burns, the former CEO of Xerox, and the first and only black woman to attain a CEO position. 

While those two women have proven to be successful in their workplace, the number of women as CEO’s is still low, at only 6.4%. 

You might be wondering why even though women have shown to be successful and able to run a company or business what is stopping them from attaining positions of power? 

Several factors play into why women aren’t in positions of power, including race, gender bias, and sexism. 

One gender bias in the workplace is that women are seen as dependable, nurturing, less creative, and sometimes overbearing in relation to their male counterparts.  When women try to assert themselves into positions of power and a higher ranking in their companies, it usually doesn’t turn out in their favor. A Lean In/McKinsey & Company survey in 2016 of 132 companies and 34,000 employees found that women who negotiated for promotions were 30 percent more likely than men to be labeled intimidating, bossy, or aggressive.

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Companies and society need to look beyond the gender bias and sexism that comes with the workplace for the further advancement of women. Women in business should be given more opportunities to allow their voices and ideas to be heard.

Here are three reasons why women making strides and moving up in the business world is important: 

1) Seeing women in high positions can motivate young girls to become leaders. 

Young girls seeing women in high positions will allow them to see that they can accomplish their goals and if they work hard and advocate for themselves, they too can be successful. 

2) Diversity and inclusion allow for an innovative and collaborative work environment.

Women and men have different life experiences and skills that can be beneficial in the workplace. Having a diverse group of women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds will allow for a diverse and inclusive workforce that will promote more innovation, creativity, and a cooperative environment. 

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3) It can help decrease the gender pay gap.

The most recent research shows that women in the United States make $0.80 on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research. The gender pay gap is even wider for women of color. 

According to PayScale, women, and men start their careers making approximately the same amount of money for the same work, but men are moving into higher-paying positions at a much higher rate than women. Allowing women to advance into higher-paying leadership positions can help close the gender pay gap and make more opportunities widely available. 

Remember that women are just as capable as men to successfully run a business and bring innovative and exciting ideas to the table. It’s time for companies to realize this and allow women the chance to show off their skills!