The weaker sex? In the (distant) past, physical strength and aggression were important traits for survival. Women were the weaker sex. Times have changed, and the traits and skills needed to be successful have evolved. Are women still “weaker”?
Women make up just over half of the population and almost half of the labor force. We are now earning the majority of undergraduate and master’s degrees. But women make up only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
Studies have also shown that women increase productivity and profitability in organizations and get higher ratings on leadership qualities than men when scored by their peers, supervisors and direct reports.
Companies are evolving and starting to realize what women often bring to the table.
Women are great communicators. We like to talk. And share. And keep up with what is going on around us. Whether written or verbal communication, women are known as skilled communicators.
Women have strong relationship-building skills and are great at networking. We tend to be givers who support and inspire others. This is valuable in the family as well as the workplace.
We aren’t afraid to ask questions or ask for help, and we know who to go to in order to get the answers. We support others and look for their input. It’s all about the team and getting things done.
Studies have shown that women have a higher capacity for multitasking. While there has also been discussion about the value of this skill, it is a necessity for all of us with the speed that everything happens.
We thrive on getting things done and take pride in efficiency. I know for me, the more I have going on, the more I get done.
Women know how to make the most of what they have. We are pulled in multiple directions and know what we need to have in place to get things accomplished.
We are also patient and able to wait for things to come together. We have learned that there is no sense in rushing things. Do it right to begin with.
Women are natural problem solvers. We can see the big picture, what is needed to solve problems and where to get the resources we need to solve them. The previous talents help us to excel at finding the way to keep things organized and moving forward.
We care. A lot. Whether it is our business or a cause, our family or friends, we are passionate about the things that are important to us. We go above and beyond for the things we care about.
Men and women bring different strengths to leadership positions. This is not just my opinion. This study, reported in the Harvard Business Review, found that women were rated higher than men in 12 of 16 top leadership competencies, including:
- Takes initiative
- Practices self-development
- Drives for results
- Develops others
- Inspires and motivates others
- Builds relationships
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Establishes stretch goals
- Champions change
- Solves problems and analyzes issues
- Communicates powerfully and prolifically
Men significantly outscored women in one category — the ability to develop a strategic perspective. The study included responses from more than 7,000 leaders of some of the top organizations in the world.
Women bring valuable skills to business. We are no longer the “weaker sex.” We are starting, improving and building businesses and organizations.