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Barriers to Women in the Workplace

ABM Partner, Netwomen

February 28, 2024

Despite considerable progress towards gender equality, women in the workplace continue to face a myriad of barriers that hinder their career advancement. These obstacles range from entrenched societal norms and biases to structural and policy-related challenges within organisations. Recognising and addressing these barriers is essential for cultivating genuinely inclusive workplaces. In this blog article, provided by ABM Partner Netwomen, we take a closer look at the persistent barriers to women's advancement in the workplace.

The Persistence of Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotypes profoundly influence perceptions of women's roles and capabilities in professional settings. These stereotypes can lead to unconscious biases, affecting everything from recruitment processes to performance evaluations and promotion opportunities. Combatting these stereotypes demands conscious effort and continuous education across all levels of an organisation.

The Leadership Disparity

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions remains a significant barrier to gender equality in the workplace. This gap not only limits role models for aspiring women leaders but also perpetuates a cycle where decision-making is skewed by a lack of diverse perspectives. Initiatives aimed at leadership development for women, alongside mentorship programs and transparent promotion practices, are vital in bridging this gap.

Work-Life Balance: A Persistent Challenge

Achieving a work-life balance is particularly daunting for women, who often shoulder the majority of caregiving and domestic responsibilities. Flexible working arrangements, supportive parental leave policies, and childcare support are crucial in mitigating this barrier, enabling women to excel both professionally and personally.

Recent Statistics
  • Gender Pay Gap: As of 2023, women earn approximately 82 pence for every pound earned by men, a statistic that has remained stubbornly consistent over the years. This gap is even wider for women of colour, with Black women earning 64 pence and Latina women earning 57 pence for every pound earned by white men (Source: National Women's Law Center, 2023).
  • STEM Representation: In 2022, women constituted only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, highlighting a significant gender disparity in these high-growth areas (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2022).
  • Organisations play a pivotal role in dismantling the barriers to women's advancement in the workplace. This involves challenging entrenched norms, implementing equitable policies, and fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity. By acknowledging and addressing these barriers, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce, driving innovation, growth, and social progress.

Addressing the barriers to women's advancement in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach. This includes challenging societal norms, implementing equitable policies, and nurturing a culture where inclusion and diversity are celebrated. By recognising and actively working to eliminate these barriers, we pave the way for a more equitable, innovative, and inclusive future in the professional world.

About Netwomen

Founded by ABM Member Pinky Ghadiali, Netwomen helps organisations increase profits by attracting, retaining and elevating talented female leaders to bridge the gender gap and keep them there. Netwomen does this through inclusive leadership training and professional development.

They also offer additional support through leadership coaching, peer connection and global DEIB sessions. Helping fast track new hires and middle management to the top to create inclusive leadership. Netwomen also invites senior leaders to be role models, lifting each other up and paying it forward. Organisations can sponsor their ambitious talent to join our programs or our membership.

Create Equity. Celebrate Equality.

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