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Women and leadership

There are only three countries in the world where you are more likely to have a woman as your boss than a man, so let's travel to Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia and put ourselves in the shoes of an employee. In Jamaica 59.3% of managers are women, in Colombia 53.1% and in Saint Lucia 52.3%. All other countries are below the 50% mark, particularly France where the gap is significant. In 2021, only 37% of management positions were held by women, more than 20 points lower than in Jamaica. And you don't have to go as far as Africa or America to realise that France is not in a good position in terms of parity for managers. Indeed, Sweden and Latvia are well ahead of France and are approaching parity in senior positions.

Women leaders in France: from executive status to general management

Among professionals with executive status, 42% are women, so men have a slight lead, which only increases as one moves up the ranks to general management. In fact, women are becoming increasingly rare at the head of a company: only 1 in 5 senior managers is a woman. Within CAC 40 companies, this gap is even greater. In 2020, only 2 women are at the head of the general management and none is president or CEO of these 40 companies.

The reason this gap is widening is that there is a severe lack of women being promoted to the very top level of management.

But why are women blocked when they want to advance in their careers?

There are a number of obstacles that women face in their careers that prevent them from progressing as far as their male colleagues.

One of these is the lack of representation. In order to change certain stereotypes, it would be important for more women to be managers and for everyone to be inspired by their success so that it seems more obvious.

The type of job also plays a role. Women are usually in a support role and therefore very rarely lead projects themselves. It is therefore more difficult to get noticed in this position in order to qualify for promotion.

Keys to success as a female leader

Firstly, women need the support of companies and they need to understand the importance and the challenge of this issue. If organisations worldwide hired women managers alongside men, they would add one million more women in leadership positions. This would close the current gap in a generation, not decades.

Companies have a key role to play as they can take 4 main actions: creating a flexible and caring work culture, ensuring equal pay for equal skills, investing in skills development and breaking down unconscious stereotypes.

Currently, 27% of companies consider female leadership to be a topical issue, which is too few. To counter this, the "Rixian Law" adopted in December 2021 provides for quotas to be introduced in large companies in the management bodies. By 2027, they will have to have at least 30% women and 40% by 2030.

Secondly, the promotion of skills is a lever for women's success as leaders. If performance at work is not enough, then women must take control to get promoted. Taking control of your skills is the first thing you need to do to overcome any weaknesses. This can be different skills such as speaking, assertiveness, negotiation... Furthermore, putting your personality forward will also help you to be more mobile. Indeed, you can use marketing techniques to make yourself known, your experience, your skills, your expertise... You can, for example, use social networks to highlight all this. Expanding your network will also allow you to get noticed and why not stand out.

Professional training can be a lever for developing and revealing your leadership...!

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