Egalitarian Guidance in the Business Community
It comes as no surprise that the business world remains a male-dominated arena with a low number of female top-ranking executives, directors, board members, and officers. Regulations in Western countries prohibit payment discrimination based on gender, yet the provisions have not fostered a climate of true egalitarianism when it comes to executive leadership. It’s a top-heavy pyramid, and men outweigh women in senior management by a long margin.
There have been dramatic strides in recent decades, with the number of women occupying management and leadership roles increasing dramatically. According to Catalyst, female management numbers account for an estimated 24% of senior roles globally (2018 figures), down from 25% a year earlier. While the percentage decline is somewhat alarming, given that trends should be moving in the opposite direction, there are many positives to take out of current business practices.
Women In Senior Management
Women now occupy senior management positions in 3 of 4 businesses (2018) compared to just 1 senior female executive in 3.3 of 5 businesses (2017). Clearly, there has been an uptick in the number of women being considered and appointed to senior leadership and management positions in global business activity. There are notable absences of women in specific industries, including legal, corporate services, finance, IT, energy & mining, software, and manufacturing. The mistaken perception that men are better suited to business activity preponderates, yet it too is slowly changing.
Between 2016 and 2017, Australia reported that some 38.4% of management positions were occupied by females. The highest concentration of female management was non-senior management at 41.9%, followed by 34.9% of senior management, and 30.4% of general managers and executives. In Third World countries like India, women held just 20% of senior roles in 2018 and just 7% of managing director or chief executive officer roles in 2017. Much the same is true in Japan. In Europe and Canada, women occupy a greater percentage of senior management and other management positions, although their numbers remain low and do not reflect a truly egalitarian spread of gender-based leadership and management roles.
Closing the Gap by Fostering Performance-based Promotions
Gender equality in business requires more than mere lip service on the part of visionary leadership. One of the strongest proponents of gender equality for top-level leaders is Sarah Alter, the president and chief executive officer of the Network of Executive Women. The way to achieve a gender-neutral workplace is by fostering a business culture that embraces gender equality. This means that conscious inclusion of women must be prioritised over other elements, by priming employees to be the most skilled, capable, and competent assets to an organisation. Gender-neutral policies must be embraced by employees at all levels. Given that women typically shoulder the burden of family and child rearing, workplaces must allow for greater flexibility vis-a-vis personal responsibilities and managed work time. These are all elements that can contribute towards a gender-neutral system.
Transparency, equitably, training, and talent scouting must focus on women to achieve preset objectives, while not discriminating against anyone who is best qualified for the job. Leading business gurus like Russell Ruffino echoes these sentiments. Ruffino is the CEO of Clients on Demand, and rather than focusing on promoting the old boys club, he focuses his efforts on training entrepreneurs – men and women – to have the requisite skills for business success.
His focus is not training the old guard how to entrench and embrace old systems; he offers disruptive business advice which focuses on a select group of clients at a higher rate of pay. By rejecting conventional marketing models which focus on the highest number of prospects through volume-based advertising, Clients on Demand ruffles feathers with the high-paying clients. A growing number of fans on his social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter et cetera is testament to the all-inclusive appeal of his teachings.
Why Open-Minded, Progressive Business Mentors Matter
The business world no longer operates in one dimension. We are now part of a much larger Internet of things where digital communication, social advocacy, and gender-neutral policies are sacrosanct. Millennials are the new generation which espouses these cultural norms and social systems. It is disingenuous to advocate anything less in the global business milieu, given the dramatic strides that have been taken in recent years to put men, women, and minorities on an equal footing with one another. Progressive business leadership is generating the type of results that have eluded many entrenched institutions for decades. By encouraging openness, transparency, and communication, people like Russ Ruffino and Sarah Alter are upending convention and brokering a new order.