Empowering women to pursue leadership | Moorepay
March 7, 2024

Empowering women to pursue leadership

four women discussing around a table

It’s time to shatter those glass ceilings, strive towards a more inclusive space, and climb higher than ever before. Let’s unleash the power of women in the workplace!

“Representation on a leadership level is so important – and even the layers below. The more diverse a leadership team is, the better the business will be.”
Michelle Hobson, Moorepay’s HR Services Director

According to various studies and reports, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the representation of women in senior management roles varies across different industries and regions. However, what’s glaringly obvious is that, across the board, women are generally underrepresented in senior leadership positions compared to men.

In the UK, the representation of women in senior management roles within the top 50 FTSE companies has been improving gradually over the years, but there is still progress to be made. Whilst some companies have made efforts to increase gender diversity in leadership, the overall percentage of women in senior roles remains lower than desired.

It’s important for companies continue prioritising gender diversity and inclusion, especially in leadership, and to leverage the fresh perspectives and talents that women bring to the table. With this in mind, let’s shift our focus to how we can empower women to thrive in their careers and and pursue advancement.

Women empowerment in the workplace

The importance for organisations to ensure women feel empowered in the workplace can’t be stressed enough. By creating better policies and opportunities, you provide a platform for females to take total control over their careers. You may want to start by addressing the following:

  • Source candidates from a more diverse pool
  • Make your recruitment process more rigorous
  • Provide flexible working opportunities
  • Assess how both females and males are promoted within your organisation
  • Invest in a performance management system (why not check out our performance management brochure?)

Once you have these in place, there are also two additional ways you can continue to support women in the workplace, providing them with support to flourish and helping them overcome the limits holding them back.

  • Coaching – this method can give women a really safe space to explore their limitations and better understand themselves. Overall, helping to create the best version possible of themselves.
  • Training – in the workplace, women may often think they’re alone when fighting specific challenges. Training will help bring a strong community of women together, aiding them in facing the obstacles ahead.

Confidence and self-promotion

**Quote to be added**

Many of us believe that hard work alone will lead to success, but managers may not always notice our efforts amidst daily complexities. To stand out, we must actively promote our achievements. Issue is, women often struggle with self-promotion. While confidence is often cited as the barrier to self-promotion, the ‘backlash effect‘ plays a significant role in these instances. Women fear social and professional backlash for deviating from gender norms, which they perceive to impact their likability. These norms limit women’s ability to discuss their achievements, hindering their overall success.

HR and line managers have a responsibility in increasing awareness of the backlash effect, and it’s crucial they advocate for women to proudly showcase their accomplishments. An effective method might be encouraging your team to share one thing they’re proud of at the beginning of your monthly team meetings.

The growth zone

A research study found that individuals with lower self-esteem tend to underestimate themselves in the workplace, often belittling their own achievements in the eyes of their peers.

However, it isn’t any distinct lack of knowledge that hinders their progress; rather, it’s their mindset. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is crucial for personal growth. While initially daunting, embracing discomfort leads to a significant boost in confidence.

Caroline Myss, a New York Times bestseller, wisely advises, “always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most out of you.” This message is clear – embracing discomfort is the path to unlocking your full potential.

Yet, we acknowledge that venturing into the growth zone can be challenging. Obstacles may arise along the way, often influenced by mindset. Remember:

  • Your talent, skills, and intelligence can be developed.
  • Failure is opportunity for growth.
  • Success is a combination of effort, attitude, strategy and persistence.
  • Move from a quest for approval to a passion for learning, giving you the confidence and courage to take risks.

Networking

“Personally, I’ve faced my fair share of challenges throughout my career as a women. I started out in a mostly male dominated environment where female leadership was hard to come by. Knowing I wanted to be a future leader myself, I sought out the only female leader in the business and asked her to mentor me. Through female empowerment and support, underpinned with hard work and determination, I was able to expand my network and develop the skills I needed to progress.”
Sarah Woodward, Moorepay’s Finance Director

Purposeful networking can change the trajectory of our careers. A study examining strategies for businesswomen highlighted networking as the most valuable resource for advancement. Similarly, research across 118 companies revealed that senior women executives attributed much of their progress to networking. However, women still trail behind men in networking connections, both within and outside the workplace.

To further their ambition, we think it’s essential women build those win-win relationships with each other. Yet, a common limiting belief among women is being perceived as using others when seeking help. This contrast presents a challenge: how can women strike a balance between authentic connection-building and self-promotion?

The key lies in purposeful networking and adopting the mindset that networking is about creating win-win relationships, where both parties benefit. To break free from this gender norm and foster meaningful connections, consider the following tips:

  1. Give before you receive, demonstrating your value as a reliable partner.
  2. Share relevant resources to foster connections based on mutual interests.
  3. Create win-win scenarios where both parties involved.

We’ve plenty more to share with you on the topic of diversity and inclusion: | Breaking the biases in leadership | 5 reasons the world needs more female leadership | Diversity and inclusion: explained |

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About the author

Rob Woodward

Originally a performer with a background in screen and playwriting, Rob has transferred his creative writing skills into the content marketing domain. Rob is responsible for the creation of our HR & payroll content, as well as the delivery of our customer communications.