Challenging Stereotypes: The Importance of Promoting Female Presence in Leadership Roles - Asset Display Page

Asset Publisher
By Luis Álvarez Satorre


March 19, 2024

The numbers don't lie: the presence of women in senior leadership roles, especially CEOs, remains scarce in today's business landscape. In Fortune 500 companies in the United States, only 10% of leadership positions are held by women. In Spain, according to a study carried out by EJE&CON´s Observatory of Diversity and Trends, titled "Presence of Women in Key Positions in IBEX 35 and Euronext Companies," our country is below the European average, with 21% of women in managerial positions in large national companies; and according to the study "Women Matter Spain: Tramos pendientes" published by McKinsey & Company, only 6% of companies have a female CEO.

Breaking Down Barriers

Despite advancements in gender equality, the gap persists and is experienced daily in companies, prompting us to raise various questions about the barriers preventing gender equality in corporate leadership. Among these, I would highlight the existence of gender stereotypes that limit women's aspirations from an early age and suggest that certain leadership roles are exclusively for men. This persistent stigma creates a disadvantage from the outset, going as far as affecting women's educational and career choices. Furthermore, resistance to their hiring in companies for leadership roles contributes to this gap, highlighting obstacles in team formation and subjecting women to greater social capital demands including talent, skills, training, and market consideration.

Thus, I would like to emphasize the need to build networks and promote the visibility of expert women. In this regard, innovative programs such as #AquíEstánEllas by EJE&CON are taking a crucial step to overcome the constant challenge of positioning expert women on panels, in the media, and at events. By highlighting and connecting capable women, this initiative contributes to changing the narrative and breaking down existing barriers, paving the way for equitable representation at all organizational levels.

Corporate culture also plays a key role in perpetuating this imbalance. Throughout history, the lack of visibility of women in leadership positions has contributed to maintaining stereotypes, so it is necessary to change this dynamic and highlight success stories led by women that inspire the next generation. Initiatives such as #RaiseYourVoice, which we promote both annually and globally in our company, allow us to showcase the work of women committed to achieving gender equality and who are role models in their respective fields. As part of this initiative, we also celebrate International Women's Day through various proposals and events, such as NEOWomen, where prominent women in different sectors share inspiring stories and discuss diversity and inclusion in organizational culture.

Leadership through visibility

In this regard, developing awareness and maintaining an open dialogue play a crucial role in addressing this disparity, but it is also important to question our own perceptions and practices. The key is for corporate leadership and other business areas to frequently reflect upon behaviors that diminish the need for visibility regarding women in leadership positions and tackle them together with determination. Keeping conversations open, challenging assumptions, understanding women's career plans and personal ambitions as well as and providing effective support are essential elements in this process.

In this context of challenging stereotypes and seeking gender equality in corporate leadership, it is important to recognize the fundamental role that men play in advancing female leadership. Instead of being mere bystanders, we must become active allies, advocating for equal opportunities, and breaking down barriers. Creating a work environment that fosters gender diversity requires everyone's commitment, which involves promoting a culture that values inclusion and collaboration, paving the way for women to reach leadership positions on equal terms.

Drawing from my experience as a team leader, I believe it's crucial to prioritize efforts to promote multiculturalism within companies. This involves developing programs that champion equality, respect, tolerance, and inclusion, ensuring that diversity is embraced as an intrinsic value. Recognizing that each individual, irrespective of gender, brings unique perspectives is fundamental for fostering innovation and achieving business success. Additionally, advocating for women's leadership across all career stages is essential. The journey toward greater female representation in CEO roles starts with challenging stereotypes, showcasing role models, and implementing inclusive corporate policies

  • Share