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Driving female leadership: Effective HR strategies

Dr. Maren Ingrid Kropfeld
Impact MBA Program Director, Professor of Sustainability & Entrepreneurship

How HR can promote gender equality in leadership

Gender inequality persists across all sectors of society, manifesting significantly in the workplace

Despite comprising 41.9% of the overall workforce, women occupy only 32.2% of senior leadership roles. This disparity is more severe in industries such as Manufacturing (24.6%), Agriculture (23.3%), Supply Chain and Transportation (23.0%), Oil, Gas, and Mining (18.6%), and Infrastructure (16.1%).

Conversely, some sectors demonstrate a more balanced gender distribution in leadership roles. For instance, Healthcare and Care Services (49.5%), Education (46.0%), Consumer Services (45.9%), Government and Public Sector (40.3%), Retail (38.5%), Entertainment Providers (37.1%), Administrative and Support Services (34.7%), and Accommodation and Food Services (33.5%) have higher proportions of women in senior positions. These examples show that gender diversity in leadership is achievable.

Dr. Maren Kropfeld, Program Director for the Impact MBA in Sustainability, Innovation & Leadership at Tomorrow University, recently discussed the importance of HR strategies in supporting women’s progression into leadership roles in an interview with HR Magazine. According to Dr. Kropfeld, HR initiatives are essential for fostering female leadership, promoting inclusivity, and challenging systemic biases within organizations. Here, we share three key initiatives HR teams can implement to empower female leadership:

Development and mentorship programs for women

One of the most effective ways to address systemic barriers and gender biases is by prioritizing leadership development programs tailored specifically for women. These programs equip women with the necessary skills, opportunities, and visibility to ascend to leadership roles. Mentorship is particularly beneficial, as it connects women with experienced leaders who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy. Such programs not only prepare women for leadership positions but also enhance organizational health by incorporating diverse perspectives, which improve decision-making and drive innovation.

Flexible work arrangements and bias training

Implementing flexible work policies can address the unique challenges faced by women, such as balancing professional and personal responsibilities or navigating maternity leave. Comprehensive bias training programs are also crucial for challenging and changing ingrained perceptions and stereotypes that often hinder women’s career progression. These initiatives contribute to creating a more equitable workplace where women’s contributions are valued equally, and their career advancement is supported.

Cultivating a diversity and inclusion culture

Creating a workplace that thrives on diversity and inclusion goes beyond policy implementation—it involves fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are celebrated. This can be achieved through targeted recruitment, retention, and promotion strategies aimed at increasing gender diversity within leadership. A strong commitment to diversity and inclusion can enhance adaptability and innovation within organizations and improve financial performance, as studies consistently show a positive correlation between gender-diverse leadership teams and superior business outcomes.

Fostering an equitable workplace for women leaders

By integrating development programs, flexible work arrangements, bias training, and a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, organizations can make significant strides toward creating a more balanced and equitable workplace. These strategies not only support women in achieving leadership roles but also enhance the overall health and success of the organization.

However, bridging the gaps in gender equality in leadership involves more than just implementing policies—it requires a deep commitment from leaders to challenge and change old practices and prejudices. Business leaders must recognize the critical benefits of cultivating a diverse workforce and its essential role in making a positive impact.

Learn the skills to become an inclusive leader

At Tomorrow University, we understand the importance of this leadership transformation. Our Impact MBA programs equip learners with the necessary tools to promote an environment that values diversity, inclusivity, and equity within their organizations. By enrolling in our program, aspiring leaders gain firsthand experience and knowledge on effectively implementing these crucial strategies.

Promoting an environment that values diversity, inclusivity, and equity not only improves organizational adaptability and innovation but also leads to superior business outcomes. Embracing and fostering transformative leadership, as cultivated by our Impact MBA program, is essential for driving progress in today’s dynamic business environment, making it a better place for everyone to work.

Read the full article on HR Magazine here.

Learn more about our Impact MBA and how you can lead the change here.

Dr. Maren Ingrid Kropfeld
Impact MBA Program Director, Professor of Sustainability & Entrepreneurship
Dr. Maren Ingrid Kropfeld
Impact MBA Program Director, Professor of Sustainability & Entrepreneurship

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