Breedlove's Briefing: Will the #MeToo Movement Inspire an Increase in Female Executives?

March 18 - Stephanie Breedlove
 

Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com 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:

Will the #MeToo Movement Inspire an Increase in Female Executives?

Who it’s for:

All men and women, especially those in leadership positions.

Why it’s important:

The #MeToo Movement has ushered in a public conversation on right and wrong, as well as equality for women. This article is keeping the conversation top of mind, as it looks at #MeToo through the lens of business, discussing the impact the movement can have on business progress and success. We’ve got to take action if we want to seize the opportunity.

The #MeToo Movement has definitely encouraged an increase in awareness, education, and reports around sexual harassment in the workforce. Even so, the business world remains largely male-dominated with gender bias being a continued barrier to entry to women. Among those hurdles is some male leaders’ recent discomfort in mentoring and working alone with women in the wake of increased allegations against them.

Will that apprehension stagnate progress for female leaders? Or will the #MeToo Movement’s principles support empowerment in business and ultimately lead to an increase in the number of female leaders in the workforce? Much of that answer depends on the level #MeToo can extend its impact beyond education and reporting; instead, making a lasting difference in improving company culture, increasing mentorship opportunities, and eliminating the confidence gap.

Thankfully, workplaces are improving the way they react to reports of sexual harassment, as a recent survey found that 32 percent of workers report that their employers have taken action to prevent workplace sexual harassment after #MeToo.

What does all of this signify for female leadership? A PwC survey finds that the more laws and protocols established to protect the safety, transparency and moral support of women in the workplace, the more female leaders will feel like their thoughts, talents and goals matter. When women can think and grow freely at work, it allows them to harness and demonstrate confidence and leadership growth.

The #MeToo Movement has exposed another inequality for women in the workplace: a lack of mentorship opportunities. A LeanIn.org poll found that half of male managers are now uncomfortable mentoring and working alone with women. In response to the #MeToo backlash, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has taken to confronting the issue by creating the #MentorHer campaign, which challenges men to mentor women in the workplace.

73 percent of women already mentor other women. The Harvard Business Review points out that when women support each other, they become more aware of information and are more united, which are two essential steps in learning (and closing) the confidence gap for potential female leaders.

As the #MeToo Movement gains momentum, it sets the stage for an influx of more female leaders. If realized, the benefits are plentiful, since companies with more female executives have higher profit margins and improve their competitive edge through innovation and collaboration.

Top Take-Away: The #MeToo Movement is helping to shape the discourse of a woman’s lead in the workplace. Women leaders must continue to be vocal about inequality, and male leaders must act as allies by hiring, supporting and promoting more women.

Want additional reading on #MeToo’s role in progress for women in leadership? These will get ya going:

#MeToo One Year Later

Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Costs

#MeToo Hasn’t Fixed the Workplace. Here’s a Playbook That Can.

#JoinTheMovement
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