The social sector needs more women in leadership roles and what’s the state of female employees?
According to a survey of 328 organisations, women make up 53% of social sector personnel. Despite this, men lead more than 81 percent of social purpose organisations (SPOs) in the sector, while women hold only 34 percent of managerial roles.
Having women in leadership positions broadens and diversifies an organization’s views and policies. It has the potential to positively impact gender-related workplace policy. Female employees look up to female leaders as mentors and role models. And so why does the social sector need more women employees?
To learn more about these difficulties and find solutions, India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS) carried out a study. In order to conduct the study, a review of pertinent literature on the status of women in leadership across SPOs in India was conducted. This was followed by interviews with 31 stakeholders, including emerging and mid-career women leaders, organisation leaders, gender specialists, and ecosystem builders.
According to the study, women are more frequently assigned to caretaking tasks because they are viewed as being more ‘caring’. Since they are less likely to work in fields like strategic development, operations, and fundraising, women are also overrepresented in programmatic jobs.
A little more than half of the respondents claim to doubt themselves frequently. Imposter syndrome is a condition that affects women more frequently than men. A supportive organisational culture, according to respondents, allowed them to break free from the loop of imposter syndrome.
In the workplace, gender biases, both overt and covert, may take many different forms. For instance, women’s authority is viewed as being inferior to that of men. The workplace is likewise permeated by patriarchal power structures. Despite the fact that there is a national maternity leave policy, there is no paternity leave policy, hence women are solely responsible for all childcare.
Competitive and aggressive traditional leadership philosophies are highly regarded nowadays. And when they engage in the former, they are regarded as “aggressive.” Women therefore need to focus on developing a unique and diversified leadership style that works for their organisation.
Organizations must concentrate on initiatives that increase capacity. The report makes the following suggestions in order to encourage an office environment that guarantees the progress of women leaders:
Being an effective leader requires developing a distinct leadership style and capability. More than 80% of respondents think that programmes aimed at building capacity can help them on their leadership journeys by emphasising leadership values that are most effective in the social sector.
These programmes ought to place the nature of female leadership in context and call attention to the obstacles standing in the way of their advancement. For instance, the Indian School of Development Management’s (ISDM) Women on Boards programme supports women who have at least 15 years of experience and want to hold board roles.
Community and Mentoring
Women’s career navigation can be positively impacted by role models, mentors, and a supportive community. Additionally, it creates a forum for people to openly discuss any problems they might be having from a holistic standpoint. To promote a well-rounded growth of peer networks and skills, networking forums, panel discussions, and webinars can run concurrently with capacity-building modules.
Mentors can also offer advice to women about career options. Organizations should also give their female staff members the chance to mentor and advise other people.
Structures and Policies at the Organisational Level
Organizations must make sure that their structures and policies support the progress of their female employees. SPOs should have the ability to address gender-related issues and support their female leaders. Additionally, organisations must give female workers the necessary training and chances to take part in important initiatives. An ecosystem that is typically designed to ensure the success of men is what women encounter when they enter the workforce.
In order for women to advance in their leadership journeys, it is critical to overcome the institutions and cultures that hinder them. The social sector has the unique duty of serving as a role model for other companies and sectors in India because of its dedication to inclusion.