Female leadership, the fight continues!

Leslie Tedgui, Global Brand Director at CoachHub, returns to the theme of gender parity within the company and from a unique angle that redefines the concept of female leadership.

It is a fact, the issue of gender equality has been occupying more and more media space in recent years and at the time of presidential elections, it returns like a sea serpent. to be resolved. Pay gaps, low proportion of women leaders, discrimination is very real and proven. Within the company, female profiles are still underrepresented compared to their male counterparts. There are, therefore, only 5% of women at the head of companies in the world, according to a study published last year by the organization of young leaders-es YPO, the Financial Times and the HeForShe campaign of UN Women.

The justifications given for the inertia and lack of progress on the issue of gender parity have not changed: areas of action that are highly gendered, lack of budget dedicated to the issue, absence of a concrete strategy to change things, lack of leaders committed to giving visibility to the subject. And yet, society faces a paradox: if male leadership is more ingrained in our companies, mindsets are changing and awareness is also growing. According to a survey conducted by CoachHub in February 2021, for 83% of companies surveyed, female leadership is now a hot topic. 60% are aware that there are barriers to female leadership while 40% admit to having implemented concrete systems for leadership development.

While it is necessary to approach the topic of gender parity from a societal point of view in order to understand the issues globally, it is also essential to respond individually, providing concrete and measurable solutions to continue moving the lines.

Helping women to take their place: a challenge for us to think together

The issue of male/female parity and, by extension, female leadership is a challenge to think about collectively. It is part of a tripartite contract that commits us at the level of individuals, institutions and companies. For politicians, the main lever remains the force of law, capable of breaking cultural and ideological blocks. See the decisive Copé-Zimmermann law passed in 2011 imposing quotas for women on management and supervisory boards, or the 2019 PACTE law forcing companies to act with tangible results.

For the latter, it is necessary to rethink their managerial and business strategy, change the codes of a still very “yang” model – a company made by men for men – to better support women in the development of their careers. .

This means investing more in female profiles, training and mentoring them as soon as they join the company, to bridge the gap with their male colleagues throughout their career at the company. In fact, the “Women in the Workplace” study published in 2020 by Lean In & Mckinsey reports glaring discrepancies at different hierarchical levels: at the entry level, there are 47% women versus 53% men, and the higher you climb the ladder, the greater the difference with 38% of female managers and 62% of male managers. Thus, long-term coaching is a way to arm and prepare women who want to access management/management positions at the same pace as their male peers. The issue of talent is an aspect that should not be forgotten, especially among generations Z and Y, who pay special attention to diversity within their company.

While it is essential to implement concrete actions at the corporate level to overcome prejudices and promote female talent in a more equitable way, the fight must also be fought at the individual level. It is up to every woman to act to become a full-fledged actress in her career.

be where you want to be

What do we really mean by “female leadership”? Let’s be clear: there is no typically female leadership, which would be specific only to women. Women’s leadership is, in reality, women’s leadership, of all women, each one in her individuality. It is above all about allowing women to have access to leadership positions in the company on equal terms with men, at all levels of the organization. Because there is no single model of success, the challenge is more to overcome the male/female divide to allow everyone the possibility to create their own leadership style so that each person is where they aspire to be.

In the implementation of this female leadership, coaching is a fundamental tool to support women, who are more likely to suffer from the imposter syndrome or the good student, in deconstructing their own limiting beliefs. But also, helping them to feel legitimate, overcoming their own brakes and freeing themselves from the weight of cultural injunctions or gender clichés, usually associating them with kindness, empathy or a maternal image.

Coaching exists to fully support each woman in achieving a goal: to build a career that fully satisfies her. On this journey, she gives the keys to individual women so that they can make themselves heard, to start working on themselves thanks to her personalized and tailored approach and the benevolent confrontation between coach and coachee. Synonymous with parentheses for yourself, coaching has the advantage of giving everyone a space to develop and unleash their potential. And here, much more than individual work, it is about bringing together the wills in this process: that of companies that want to transform their culture by investing in women, and that of women at the individual level, who want to break the glass ceiling by attacking your own brakes.

The issue of parity between men and women is a structural problem in our society. Revealing unconscious gender biases is critical to creating an inclusive environment in which women and men thrive. One-on-one coaching is one of the solutions for this, but there are other concrete initiatives to allow women, for example, to have a voice and meet within the same community of interest that leads to the creation of a feeling of ‘affiliation’. Among the collective initiatives implemented are the organization of workshops, conferences, but also free discussions within women’s circles or networks such as the Yin circle, the Women’s Forum qualified as “Davos des Femmes”. Spaces for exchanges, debates and sharing that allow progress among peers on the issue of parity, considering the multiple facets of female leadership with the ultimate goal in this struggle: achieving fulfillment as a personal and professional asset for each one.

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