Contrary to popular belief, women have just as much drive to climb the corporate ladder as men do, but are faced with many challenges on the personal and professional front. However, in most cases, women are willing to sacrifice part of their personal lives to reach a top management position.
NO PRIDE, JUST PREJUDICE
Sunitha S, a Chennai-based HR consultant says, “Women who are one step away from C-suite positions, often promote themselves and directly communicate their ambitions to the top-level management; however, assumptions about demographics and life choices – they won’t migrate to other states or countries or that they will leave the organisation to start families – have become excuses for gender inequality in the management ranks.”
Swathi Jain, an HR professional in Bengaluru says, “Women make more than 40% of the global work-force; they are slowly but steadily making progressive growth in certain countries. They’re earning advanced professional degrees in record numbers and in some areas, surpassing men. It is said that companies have implemented programs to fix certain biases against women and support their full participation in leadership. If only they were true! I personally know women who have impeccable résumés and ace interviews – they are smart, confident and have clear objectives. Yet, most interviewers they sit before are prejudiced when hiring female interviewees – companies need to hire employees based on qualifications, not presumptions.If names were removed from the resumes of people who had applied for management roles and then assessed, women would have the upper hand,” she adds.
NOT A GOOD START
Even after having great resumes, women don’t start off their careers on the same note as men in terms of remuneration. For women, early-career success is crucial. Mihika A, a Chennai-based HR consultant says, “Organisations underutilise and undervalue their highest-potential female talent. Though women can make it to the top just as quickly, their tenure at an organisation is directly proportional to the equation they share with their immediate superior.That first landing spot—the way you get coached, developed, and mentored by a manager is the deciding factor. Companies need to put more emphasis on employee–supervisor direct report relationships in that first job that will help women steer their career graph in the right direction.”