While things have come a long way, there is still much work to be done to increase the representation of women in the workplace, especially in top-level roles. According to the female leadership non-profit Catalyst, only 34% of UK companies have a female directorship. Change in this area is not coming quickly, with only a 2% increase from 2019.
The leadership consultancy Impact International has assembled a report which shows the best ways to create more leadership opportunities for women. The first is to promote internally rather than looking outside of your business for top-level hires. By prioritising skills over board experience, a business is able to find excellent candidates for top roles who may not have had the opportunity to serve in such a position before. Many candidates with years of experience serving in senior roles are men due to higher promotion rates and more opportunities, so it is worth looking to women who already work in your company and display leadership potential rather than discounting them for lack of formal experience.
Leadership training programmes are another great way to elevate the skills of your entire workforce, while providing women with an opportunity to lead which they may not have had in their professional careers. Additionally, having employees of all genders working together on leadership programmes can have the effect of removing deep-seated stereotypes and expectations of women in leadership roles which some employees may not even know that they have.
If you are interested in elevating your business by helping to end gender inequality at the top levels of management, there are many resources available. The non-profit Catalyst is a good start, as well as the women-led research company Seramount which has researched and advocated for gender diversity since 1979. The tools to make change are out there, and it is up to businesses to put them to good use.