On ‘SISTERHOOD IN THE WORKPLACE’ By Mercy Karumba

We all preach about diversity and empowering the girl-child.This has actually worked in the past few years. However statistics by McKinsey reveals a...


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We all preach about diversity and empowering the girl-child.This has actually worked in the past few years. However statistics by McKinsey reveals a great disparity between men and women which begins at entry level. It shows that men are 30% more likely to be promoted to management levels than women and this rate is constant as the men move up the career ladder. Though the number of women pursuing careers keeps growing, less than a quarter of senior leadership positions are occupied by women and less than one-fifth in C-suite roles. The question now is, does girl-power actually work? Do we as women encourage and boost one another up the ladder or are we our very own worst-enemies? Do we really understand one another woman-to-woman or is the reality the exact opposite?

In my very short time period of work experience, I cannot answer this question.  I have had women as my bosses in most of my positions and they have been great mentors to me. So yes, I  can confidently say that girl-power actually exists. However, I appreciate that not every lady has been as lucky as I have been.

If it’s not sexual harassment from men, a woman is experiencing ill-talk and a lot of judgement from her fellow women. Most women will admit to feeling less recognized when it comes to decision making and policies within the workplace. A man’s idea seems more legit and feasible than from a woman. It’s not surprising that most women feel less confident when it comes to moving up the corporate ladder. Some of these challenges, not to mention biological issues, may be a hindrance to their progress. Women are not the weaker gender but it is necessary to have some policies acknowledging the role of women in an organisation/company.

An article by the CEO of Heim Group and best selling author, Dr.Pat Heim suggests that behaviour in children is largely a reflection of the state of the workplace. Boys are more involved in playing sports and competing,whereas girls tend to be more involved in ‘relational’ play such as playing with house and with dolls which have no winner or loser. This creates this competitive and aggressive attitude in pursuing goals and meeting them, developing game plans and taking risks in men. Where as women learn to be more collaborative, sharing and preserving relationships.

Some of the major differences noted in how men and women operate in the workplace include: Men value respect and hierarchy, whereas woman value relationships. I guess that is why most HR Managers are women as their role is to ensure a level playing field. Men tend to be more goal focused, while women are more process-focused. Does this mean that the upbringing and child’s play should be altered to ensure equality in the workplace? I don’t think so. All attributes are equally important and it is for organisations to embrace this uniqueness between the genders and create a balance. Is it true that we are our own worst enemies? Has your gender been a reason for your progress or decline within your workplace?   To get a male perspective on this, please read my colleague Mitchell’s views HERE

 

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