How We Value Women in Business 2016
By Emily Housden, PR Intern
International Women’s Day celebrated all kinds of women from around the world and it made me realise how lucky I am to live in a society which on the whole values it’s women in nearly every walk of life. If we were to look back and imagine the days when women were considered second-class citizens it seems ludicrous to us now but still all too real for many women across the world.
It’s clear that all women around the world still have a long way to go before reaching the goal of true equality with men. In Britain, our duty lies with teaching our daughters, sisters and friends to break down that ever-so-existent glass ceiling in the world of business.
There’s no doubt that women are an essential part of business and so breaking down the construct of the ‘glass ceiling’, one of the only remaining inequalities, is crucial.
In 2010, boards of directors in business were made up of only 12.5% women. This might seem like coincidence if a company were purely basing their employment decisions on who was best for the job, but considering women generally get higher qualifications than men, this just doesn’t make sense.
Businesses should be hiring women, end of. For a business to be successful there must be a range of skills, opinions and ideas on how to improve and progress. But if a business is limiting itself to purely male-orientated ideas then they have already given their business a gender. Women know what women want and so our opinions are invaluable to any business.
Not only is it our ideas which are needed but research by Gallup shows that women leaders tend to have happier, more engaged teams than men (25%-35% higher). So for anyone to deny that a female leader isn’t just as successful as a male leader (if not more) is quite simply insane. What business wouldn’t want a happier, more engaged team?
Not to mention that women are highly successful in many leadership roles in other professions, such as teaching. It seems strange that we would trust women with the well-being and education of the next generation but not our current businesses.
Unfortunately, biology has often given businesses the perfect excuse to deny women a promotion or leadership role due to the fact that they might decide to leave and have a baby. But this cannot be an excuse any longer. According to the Office for National Statistics there are now 192,000 house husbands in the UK and 2 million women acting as the main bread winners in their family. Women are no longer obliged to be purely a doting mother who is there every day after school to cook dinner, clean and put their children to bed. Women want to work, and men are happy to let them.