Gender Imbalance and Leadership: Why it Matters

If you looked at your workforce, would you see more men than women?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. According to a recent article by Harvard Business Review, women outnumber men in law firms, with a 60/40 ratio. With more women than men graduating from college these days, it’s a trend that may soon be prevalent in your industry, too.

Unfortunately, the imbalance in the workforce has not yet even translated to parity, in the boardroom. And, with the difference that female leaders tend to bring to organizational culture, perhaps this is a loss for all of us. If the past has shown us anything, it’s that change comes slowly and from senior leadership. Most importantly, as the article points out, it almost always comes from outside the group in question. In other words, men need to push for gender balance for it to be successful.

So, as a key leader in your organization, what can you do to begin to introduce more balance into the organization and into key positions? In working with our clients on this issue, here are some strategies we’ve found helpful:

  • Ensure linkages between the firm’s short and long term strategies and human resources planning.
  • Tie talent management outcomes to business measures and use those measures to engage senior executives in the process.
  • Communicate the importance of gender equality to organizational success.
  • Enhance communication from senior executives about talent management link to business goals so managers/employees understand the relationship and value to the firm’s success.
  • Encourage mentoring of high potential women.
  • Ensure the mission, values and purpose of the firm are clear and meaningful – and communicated to the organization regularly and tied to the talent management process.
  • Support the business need to developing a pipeline of talent in the firm (prepared for tomorrow and not just today) and support defining, understanding and assessing the talent gap.
  • Encourage the strengthening of the internal talent market, supporting internal recruiting, development and building skills.

Lasting change is slow, but slow change is more often successful.

What strategies have you used to pursue a more gender balanced workforce? We’d love to hear from you!

Boxer Advisors, LLC, is a full-service consulting, training and coaching firm with more than 50 professional consultants, facilitators, and coaches and carefully selected partners providing services to Federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies since 1996.

Contact us today to learn more.

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