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Promoting Women’s Leadership in the Workplace

Even today in 2024, despite progress, women in leadership roles is still underrepresented across industries. This is to the point that it has become suspicious to put a woman in a CEO role and has created the idea of the “Glass Cliff” where struggling companies assign women CEOs as a fall guy. Recently, Elon Musk was accused of this when he hired Linda Yaccarino as CEO of X.

However, this is a very limited and damaging mindset. Having more women in leadership roles benefits companies through diverse perspectives and is proven to result improved performance. According to McKinsey & Company, companies with the highest representation of women on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability compared to companies with the lowest representation.

So, how do companies encourage and support more women to strive for leadership roles. We look at how you can create a more diverse, and therefore more profitable, company.

Making the Business Case

As we mentioned, research points to companies with women in leadership roles more likely to create a more profitable business. This is because women leaders tend to bring different skills and styles to typically male perspectives. Like anything else in life, a new perspective can greatly improve a system that isn’t working. If that new perspective is coming from the top, it can greatly aid the company, thanks to leading to better decision making and problem solving.

Barriers and Challenges

However, there are a lot of barriers to women in leadership roles. These are things that companies can work on to allow women a better chance to reach the glass ceiling.

There are a lot of organisational biases that block women’s career advancement, so as a team manager or leader in the company, it would be useful to schedule regular training. It’s important to consistently enforce that women should be on equal footing as any other gender in the establishment. It’s important for workplace cultures to reinforce this in order to not create a toxically “masculine” environment like that which sent gaming company Activision Blizzard into the news, the courts, and ultimately being sold to Microsoft.

These biases usually include preconceptions about work-life balance issues and a lack of family and childcare support policies. When (not “if”) when family life interrupts your female staff members’ work lives – or even a male staff member’s – it’s only useful to support, not chastise. If a member has to stay at home because their child is sick or otherwise can’t go to school or childcare, it’s not helpful to demand they go into the office, for example. It is, however, helpful to have a policy in place to aid these situations, like work from home schemes or financial support for childcare.

Strategies for Promoting Women Leaders

So, how do current business leaders aid women to advance in their career?

The first option that comes to mind is leadership training. You can offer regular training and professional development programs for women with high potential. As part of that, you can take women that show promise under your wing and work one-one-one in a mentorship capacity or create a mentorship programme in the company to support sponsorship and women in leadership roles pipelines. It would be helpful for male allies to advocate for and amplify accomplished women’s voices.

Furthermore, it would be helpful to regularly make performance evaluation and promotion processes more objective so that women are not unfairly penalised. It’s important to increase transparency around hiring, promotions and pay practices so that you have a level playing field for people of all genders.

Offer flexible work arrangements and supportive parental leave policies, as we mentioned, to make sure that you have your staff members as much as you can.

The Future of Women’s Leadership

There are a lot of benefits of allowing more women in leadership roles, which cover everything from workplace culture to new ideas to increased profits. It would benefit everyone to change workplace cultures to be more inclusive and value diverse leadership styles, including the traditionally male members of staff. Having more women leaders inspires younger generations, which can only improve businesses in this rapidly changing world. If you are still worried about aiding too much, you can create accountability through data-driven goals and initiatives to ensure you are rewarding for more than just gender.


There is a severe lack of female role models, mentors, and sponsorship opportunities in leadership positions, making a chicken and egg situation of this issue. By aiding women in leadership roles, you will encourage more women in leadership roles and create a more diverse panel of experts to steer your ship away from icebergs.