Breedlove's Briefing: 5 Ways Women Can Rise into Leadership

February 4 - Stephanie Breedlove

Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.

I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!

Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.

This Week’s Must-Read:

5 Ways Women Can Rise into Leadership

Who it’s for:

Every company, every executive, every manager, every woman.

Why it’s important:

We know that diversity is good for business, yet less than one in five CEOs at Fortune 500 companies is a woman. The latest McKinsey/LeanIn Women in the Workplace report finds that corporate America has made almost no progress in improving women’s representation in leadership since the first report came out in 2015. (Really? Really!)

We are stalled in a major way; smart progress continues to evade us. In order to overcome current hurdles, we need to understand what’s holding women back. The representation issue stems from companies short-changing women during the hiring or promotions process.

Here are some tangible recommendations for how companies can rewrite the equation and help women rise up into leadership positions:

  1. Have a Diverse Pipeline and a Diverse Hiring Team: Be sure that you are actively seeking diverse candidates for jobs and promotions. Hiring managers should determine how much certain skills and responsibilities are worth, rather than asking candidates about salary history. If women are already underpaid, basing their future earnings on previous salaries won’t close gender wage gaps.
  2. Encourage Women to Raise Their Hands: Men will apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the requirements, while women won’t typically apply unless they meet 100%, according to the Harvard Business Review. Encourage your best female talent to throw their hats into the ring, and then give them the support they need to grow into the role.
  3. Promote Women at the Same Rate as Their Male Counterparts: According to the McKinsey/LeanIn report, women are less likely to be hired as managers, and they are far less likely to be promoted into them. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 79 women are promoted to the same level.
  4. Promotion and Raises Often Go Hand in Hand: In order for change to happen, we need to hold CEOs accountable for promoting women at the same rate as men. One in five C-suite leaders is a woman, and the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies declined 25% from last year. Disappointing. If you can see her, you can be her. Showcase diverse leaders of every level throughout your organization – especially women in top leadership positions.
  5. Mentorship Matters: Women surveyed say they get less day-to-day support from managers and less access to senior leaders than their male counterparts. Research finds that women who have mentors are more likely to be promoted.

Top Take-Away/Final Thought: Equality is not a female issue; it’s a business imperative. We need to flip the equation and get more female representation at the top of corporations and in positions of power. Why are we waiting for equality to happen? We have to make it happen. Implementing workplace policies that help advance diversity is a giant step forward.

Want additional reading to help you to be a part of smart progress? Dive on in:

Women in the Workplace 2018: McKinsey/Lean In Study

Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They Are 100% Qualified: Harvard Business Review

Why Mentoring Matters, and How to Get Started: The New York Times

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