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Obstacles the reality for female leaders

Released at: 09:45, 14/06/2018

Obstacles the reality for female leaders

Photo: Illustration (Duc Anh)

Latest Navigos report finds women leaders face barriers at work and home and in society at large.

by My Van

More than one-third of enterprises surveyed for Navigos Search’s “Women make the difference” report, released on June 11, do not have development policies for female leaders.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondent enterprises are without a program dedicated to the development of female leaders, of which 37 per cent said the development of female leaders was not part of their strategic plans.

They cited the difficulties in developing a female leader as being a lack of empowerment, inadequate advice from senior leaders, work-family relationships, and the absence of specific training policies for female leaders.

Invisible barriers, though, are the greatest obstacles to the development of female leaders, the report noted after also surveying female leaders.

Such invisible barriers are in the workplace, society, and the family. The three toughest are being compared with and judged unfairly against male leaders (34 per cent of respondents), a lack of support and understanding from the family (33 per cent), and social stereotypes about the role of women in the family (31 per cent).

Tackling these barriers makes many women leaders anxious, with opposition from leaders causing the most anxiety (17 per cent of  respondents). Sixteen per cent said it mostly came from not being empowered while 15 per cent pointed to a lack of support and understanding from the family.

These barriers, however, do not affect their desire to become good leaders. When asked why they sought leadership roles, 71 per cent said it was a passion for the job, 65 per cent said they wanted to prove themselves, and 54 per cent said it was their desire to develop other people.

Gender diversity is considered by respondents to play an important role in the development of the business. Half said gender diversity would be more effective in resolving problems, 41 per cent said it would help reach out to a wider variety of customers, and 26 per cent said it would help in attracting and retaining talent.

Ms. Nguyen Phuong Mai, Managing Director of Navigos Search, added that enterprises need to include diversity in their business strategies to maximize the strengths of their staff and teams.

“Though there may be difficulties in implementing gender diversity policies, businesses can implement strategies that support women in areas such as health, work-life balance, and training, and in particular ensure equitable evaluations and equal opportunities for development for employees of both genders,” she said.

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