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Overcoming barriers to women’s leadership and unlocking the power of diversity

Sophia Zhao | May 15, 2020

Many women are successful in their professions and as leaders across levels and industries. Yet, as they grow, hone their skills, and pursue their goals, they face a range of challenges or roadblocks to leadership success. How can women advance their careers, and how can organisations be sure they’re making the most of all their talent?

Clearly, it is not enough for women to just “lean in.” Antiquated policies, practices, and perceptions continue to undermine the advancement of women and contribute to a persistent glass ceiling in the workplace. The World Economic Forum predicts that it will take 70 to 107 years to close the gender gaps in Asia. 

Despite all the organisational benefits of boosting the presence and power of women, women still face difficulty getting to executive leadership positions. 2019’s Fortune 500 list saw the highest number of female CEOs – yet it’s excruciatingly far from being on par with the number of male CEOs. Only 33 out of 500 CEOs, a mere 6.6%, are female.

It’s tempting to assume that given time, women will steadily gain greater access to leadership roles, including the most powerful positions. However, social change is not a continuous march without struggle and conflict. Deliberate effort is still needed to build awareness and support women’s development.

To deepen our understanding of women’s leadership, the Center for Creative Leadership in cooperation with Kestria (formerly IRC Global Executive Search Partners) surveyed 319 women and men living and working in the Asia Pacific region and conducted 46 interviews. The conversation about women’s leadership was also put into the broader context of equity, diversity, & inclusion (EDI) – which is increasingly a priority for many organisations. The goal is to better understand how men and women see the future of diversity and what they think is needed to build, sustain, and harness EDI.

Download this white paper to learn about the findings and suggestions for overcoming barriers to women’s leadership. Find out what action steps your organisation can take to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce and unlock the power of women’s leadership.

Insights Blog