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Why Companies Struggle to Tap the Power of Women’s Leadership

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The business case for having more women in leadership positions is clear.

A study of 745 men and women leaders and aspiring leaders that we conducted with Watermark found that female bosses were rated as more supportive of career development by their direct reports. While men rated male and female bosses about equally in terms of career support, women rated female bosses as much more supportive than male bosses.

That’s important, because research shows that employees perform better when their bosses are supportive.

The CCL-Watermark study also found that men and women with female bosses felt their organization was more committed to their career development and were less likely to feel burned out by their jobs, factors that translate to lower employee turnover.

But for all the benefits of having women leaders in a workplace, organizations have not made much improvement recently. For the last 10 years, the proportion of women in senior roles in organizations globally has been stuck at 24%. Around the world, women are less likely to be employed full time. Men are 10 times more likely to be a head of government than women. Those inequities stem at least in part from differences in education and cultural barriers that often begin in elementary school.

We have been exploring what factors prevent more women from attaining leadership roles, and how organizations can bolster female leadership.

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