Women in Corporate Ecosystems

Women in Corporate Ecosystems
Courtesy Photo The 2013 McKinsey survey shows companies performed significantly better when women were represented in executive committees.

Courtesy Photo
The 2013 McKinsey survey shows companies performed significantly better when women were represented in executive committees.

My email processing involves an initial skim to delete what is not important and respond to necessary interactions. On the second go-round, I prioritize and search for engaging opportunities. On one particular day the subject line was “Green Jobs Creation in NW Arkansas.”

The word “green” jumped out of my computer as the email included another one of my favorite words, “sustainability.” It appears as though the Fayetteville Forward Green Economy Group is working for “stimulated creation of green jobs through discussion and proposals supporting sustainability throughout the region.”

Valuable financial revenue is generated through the creation of jobs. More jobs results in more tax revenue and disposable income used for urban infrastructure support and security; such as roads, government properties, and police to name a few.

Another strategy to generate revenue is gender equality in upper managerial positions. Creating an ecosystem that allows women to advance up the corporate ladder results in increased business value. The 2013 McKinsey survey shows companies preformed significantly better when women were represented in executive committees. For example; a 47 percent increase in the return on equity and 55 percent increase in average earnings before interest and tax deductions occurred when women were represented in higher levels of the corporate ladder.

Times have changed significantly from when President John F. Kennedy developed the Commission of the Status of Women in a 1961 report. In those days, Kennedy recognized the need to open the workplace to more women. A decade later, President Obama implemented the Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being. This report houses some interesting data.

Women have made gains in education achievement and labor force positioning. Although they made up almost half of the labor force, women only earned about 75 percent of what men earned in 2009. Females still have mountains to climb since they are more likely to live in poverty than men. Unmarried female head-of-households, with children, have two to three times greater chances of living in poverty than both male and females living in similar conditions.

In 1988 and 2008, female head-of-household earnings were the lowest of all family types and, in 2008, they earned 30 percent less than their counterparts without children. Many of these women struggled to survive where 16 percent received non-earned, cash transfer income from the government.

Women are still stereo-typed into gender relational positions; such as secretaries, registered nurses, elementary school teachers, cashiers, and nursing aides — even though over 60 percent of women surveyed by McKinsey were ready to sacrifice their personal lives to improve their employment opportunities. However, men are at an advantage by the work “anytime, anywhere” performance model that penalizes women in working ecosystems. Ironically, women’s ability to excel are due to their leadership behaviors that are aligned with increased financial success.

Women face barriers to succeed in the corporate environment even though 74 percent of men are in agreement that diverse leadership teams results in greater company performance. Challenges to advancement ensue by men’s lack of awareness of what women face in the work ecosystem. There are disparities that exist in communication and leadership styles between men and women that lack sufficient female role-models and support groups to empower them to thrive.

Female confidence is daunted by the male buddy-buddy hierarchical environment. Women have been conditioned since their aspirations may be suppressed through pervasive male and female relationships. The Women in America report found that “sexual victimization and intimate partner violence disproportionately affect women.” In addition, 20 out of 1,000 women are victims by stalking which is higher than the 7 out of 1,000 men that have similar experiences. Twice as many females were victims of electronic bullying than men in the educational environment yet they move on to make gains in their status roles.

Addressing the challenges that women face in their environment allows for people to work together to create ecosystems that support gender equality for our financial infrastructure to thrive. Changing mind-sets and lifestyles allows women to climb out of poverty, serve in corporate environments, and realize security in gender diverse surroundings. The sustainability of businesses is enhanced with the establishment of gender diversity in the workplace.

You may contact ffgreeneconomygroup@gmail.com to RSVP your attendance at the February 6, 2015, Green Jobs Creation in NW Arkansas meeting.

Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD business is Jazzy Eco Sustainable Community, an author, and business coach. Blog: naturemystic.wordpress.com. Website: www.jazzyeco.com.

Categories: Commentary