As I hear and read about women in business, the same question keeps resurfacing: Why aren’t more women in leadership positions? Organizations are striving to improve gender equity figures in the hopes that a more diverse workforce will appeal to an increasingly diverse customer base. In addition, it’s been proven that a more diverse workforce can increase financial returns, employee engagement, and innovation. However, the numbers reported by Catalyst on July 1, 2016 aren’t encouraging—women hold only 4.6 percent of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. With a multitude of positive benefits, how can organizations increase the number of women in leadership positions? The answer may lie in increasing the amount of flexibility given to women—which would of course benefit everyone within the organization.
This issue of gender equity was recently highlighted in the Global Business and Organizational Excellence article, “Gender Equity in Accounting: How the CPA Profession is Balancing the Numbers.” The article featured several CPA firms that are making big strides in this area. Based on the gender-diversity initiatives undertaken by the various CPA firms, it’s clear to me what’s making women successful within the accounting arena. I just hope more employers in all industries start reading between the lines. The following are quotes from the article:
- “There is no difference between women and men in our office… I just want to make sure everyone has the accommodations they need for their personal lives.”
–Danielle Supris Cheek, sole proprietor of D. Supkis Cheek, PLLC
- “The team soon realized that expanding its reach would benefit the entire firm, for CAT [Career Advocacy Team] addresses issues common to all employees, such as flexible scheduling, creating individual career paths, and developing a better, progressive leadership program for emerging leaders.”
–Suzanne Lozano, principal and founding member of Yeo & Yeo CPAs and Business Consultants
- “…flexible work arrangements as the cornerstone of the organization’s success in retaining, developing, and advancing women to leadership positions.”
–Heidi LaMarca, managing partner at Windham Brannon
To learn more about the benefits of greater workplace diversity and subsequent leadership equity, read the following APQC articles:
- Harness the Full Power of Diversity
- Quotas or Not, It's Time to Create and Support A Formal Diversity Plan
- Support Workforce Diversity: Turn A Financial Risk Into A “Profit Maker"
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