Women City

Understanding Why Some Women are C- Suite Phobic

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, January 14, 2013
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Bangalore: Even with all the talk about what large organizations are doing to promote women in the work place, one fact is undeniable: the C- Suite culture hasn’t changed much. It is still male dominated.

So is equal representation of women and men in the boardroom an elusive idealistic dream? More troublingly, what is the reason the C-Suite is unable to attract the talented and brilliant women? It can’t be denied that there are many smart women who are fresh out of college, navigate complex gender stereotypes and reach the top- well almost.

Even in the country that is widely lauded for pushing women to the top, statistics are not very encouraging. In a write up on Forbes, Ruchika Tulshyan cites statistics from Catalyst Research which claims that although women make up 51% of workforce, only a meager 4% constitutes the Fortune 500 CEOs. While investigating this trend, many theories are offered; some of them are ignorant and some are outright misogynistic. Women are capable of being effective leaders but again we have statistics that seem dismal. Again there are claims that women prefer to bow out in order to have children or the much talked about “work-life balance”. While previously this may have been true, organization are more accommodating in this decade and have policies in place for female employee engagement.

One theory offered comes courtesy of Henna Inam, CEO of Transformational Leadership, who states that women generally perceive the C-suite positions to be more about politics than about work that leads to tangible change. Women who are more collaborative and less cutthroat seem to be deterred by the prospect of politics in the work environment. To bring in talented workers and hence ensure diversity, there needs to be a restructuring of the entire approach of a company; open, goals driven culture should prevail. Women who feel they would be changing too much of themselves to fit into a politics-driven C-suite may just consider sticking to a position where they are more comfortable and feel like they could achieve their goals.

Organizations need to bust stereotypes and biases also to actively try to alter the minority status women have in any enterprise. Numbers can be encouraging; women would feel like the atmosphere in the C-suite favors entrepreneurship, innovation and talent.


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