In 2013 Ernst & Young published a report stating; ‘Over the next decade,
the impact of women on the global economy will be at least as significant as that of China and India.’

Women represent half of the global population and yet for a long time have been largely ignored as a vital talent resource.  Throughout the next ten years, it is estimated that the contribution by women to the global economy — as producers, entrepreneurs, employees and consumers — will be as significant as that of China’s and India’s respective one-billion-plus populations, possibly even more so.

Simply put, accepting women’s economic potential equals an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce growing the global economy.  However, there is still a chasm between women’s potential and their place in the global marketplace.

In 2015, research from recruitment consultancy Badenoch and Clark, revealed that one in three working women in the UK said they felt disadvantaged in the workplace.  The study highlighted that 31% of respondents believe that men are offered greater opportunities at work.  This was prevalent in the private sector: almost a quarter (20%) of private sector respondents thought they were over looked for promotion as a result of their gender, whereas the public sector, with more stringent anti-discrimination policy, was just 8%.

The research suggests aspirational female managers are held back because there is a lack of female role models (26%) but more significantly, a perception that women need more flexibility (54%).  Moreover, more than 50% of the women surveyed (57%) said that an ‘unconscious bias’ in favour of men is the biggest obstacle facing women at work.

Overall, the majority of respondents said that an improved programme of training and support was essential to correct this bias, with 55% favouring leadership training and development, while 43% felt that mentoring and coaching programmes were a suitable solution.

Encompassing leadership as a core identity can be challenging for women, who may need to assert credibility in a corporate culture because of its mixed messages and beliefs about whether, when, and how women should exercise authority.  Paradoxically, behaviour that is equated leadership behaviour more common in men, alienates women and unfairly defines them as not cut out to be leaders.   This ‘unconscious bias’ ultimately results in women being overlooked in the work place despite their obvious economic value and huge potential to contribute significantly to business growth.  This cultural bias is at odds with the strong evidence than women lead businesses well, create growth into new markets and can ultimately increase shareholder value.

Therefore, it will soon become imperative for businesses to invest in moving their culture away from this bias and towards the sponsorship of women leaders in order to stay ahead of the game, as women will, over the next decade, be emerging as the next business frontier.

If you’d like to talk more about such programmes and leadership coaching for your organisation, or find out more about our business packages, please do get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss how it can work for you.