Women in the workforce – the glass ceiling still exists
Despite how progressive society has gotten and the long history of modern feminism, many still believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not the boardroom. It’s a perennial struggle that is seemingly never-ending.
According to a research paper conducted by Willis Towers Watson, an alarming 63% of the Singaporean respondents believed that a glass ceiling exists which holds back the prospects of women in the respective organisation.
63% of Singaporean respondents also noticed a drain of mid-level female employees.
The problem with the workforce
The report cites that the lack of work-life balance and lack of flexibility were the highest reasons for female mid-level drain, at 83% and 75% respectively.
This is further corroborated by the figures that show that 30% of companies surveyed do not have any female board members and only 9% have a female CEO.
Many senior leaders of an organisation fail to recognise that aptitudes that were once considered “soft” such as collaboration and communication acumens, are increasingly required in order to lead the modern workforce, especially a millennial-rich one.
Where there is little initiative by the organisation to instil a widespread culture of equality and diversity at all management levels, especially at the senior management level, engagement and performance by the workforce tends to be lacklustre at best.
Men vs Women: Why is there still disparity?
There has been numerous research conducted that shows the positive correlation between the presence of gender diversity and equality in an organisation’s management and the returns on equity and operating profit.
Where there are more diverse thought processes and perspectives, the management would be able to make better and more informed business decisions.
Even where there are women in senior management positions or board members in listed companies, their lack of visibility and office-level presence causes a perception that there is still a lack of female leadership.
By actively encouraging or even providing mentorship to others in the workplace in need of such support, these women in the boardroom are able to combat the abovementioned perception.
Apart from the lack of visibility of female leadership in the organisation, the current consensus shows a drain of female talent in the mid-level management tier and this perception is upsetting to say the least, especially to the modern day feminist.
Work or life? Why not both?
There is the archaic notion in most Singapore-based organisations that working long hours in the office indicates a higher commitment to the profession and this “kiasu” culture will only serve to bring the equality movement two steps backwards.
The lack of work-life balance and lack of flexibility afforded to women during childcare years are what causes these women to believe that they are issued an ultimatum — either choose to have a career or family, as outdated a belief as it may seem.
Thus, it is timely that the lionesses of Singapore roar again and show that they are a force to be reckoned with.