My other business, ECRUU, operates in the male-dominated world of commodity trading. Over the last few years up to the pandemic, I felt I could see the number of women in this industry grow steadily. The pandemic has taken us two steps back, however. Besides, while some traditionally male-dominated industries are seeing an increasing number of women in the workforce, these numbers hide the reality that women who work in such industries face as well as their struggle to reach leadership positions.
Why I care
This is a subject that is dear to me. I’ve seen too many great, committed, and ambitious women give up on their careers because it was too hard. It was NEVER too hard because of the workload. Rather, it was because working harder did not solve the other growing issues they were facing.
The challenges are both structural and in mindsets. And if so many of the women who could change both the structures and mindsets in which we operate leave, then change will happen too slowly.
I’ve called on Frieda Levycky, a woman who is an expert on the subject both from within and without, to help us work together on these challenges.
Founder of Braving Boundaries, Frieda is an ICF-accredited coach specialising in Whole Person Coaching and Enneagram Coaching. She is also a practising English lawyer and has been for nearly 20 years.
Numbers speak for themselves
In a series of brilliant articles on Female Leaders in the Workplace, Frieda points out that, based on the January 2021 S&P 500 list, women currently hold only 31 – or 6.2% – of the total CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. This is symptomatic of a deeper issue, however.
Referring to McKinsey data, she explains that for every 100 men promoted to manager level, only 85 women are promoted. As a result, women remain significantly outnumbered in entry-level management, holding only 38% of manager-level positions, compared to men with 62%. This creates an uneven playing field from very early on, a situation that gets exacerbated as we get higher up in ranks.
The problem runs deeper
But here too, the problem is symptomatic of something else. Frieda refers to a study led by Cambridge psychologist Dr Terri Apter which found that women have been socially conditioned to feel less deserving of men. The result? The so-called “unentitled mindset” or “entitlement gap,” whereby women feel less entitled to pay raises, promotions and better working conditions. The result? They rarely ask for any of it.
This is a catch 22. Quoting an article in health line, Frieda explains that the realities of inequality in the workplace can have a direct effect on women’s health and well-being. A stalled career and the inability to gain a higher income, in turn, affect your wellbeing and self-confidence and, as a result, your performance, which in turn affects your ability to land leadership positions.
It’s not a man vs female thing
While everything that Frieda writes about resonates with me strongly, what I like the most is that she is clear that “This is not a male vs female thing. Rather it is women and men working together – with equal pay, equal say and equal standing in the workplace. Even in senior roles.”
If you’re struggling to find your place at work despite your best efforts, I invite you to join Frieda’s session during the Stuff Talks Ambitious Woman Summit. She’ll be talking about “Lessons learned from working in a man’s world.”
Frieda focuses on helping people create real balance in their lives so they can shift from feeling lost, stuck and overwhelmed to leading a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life, both professionally and personally.
During the week of January 10-16, every day you’ll get to meet an amazing woman and expert in her own field who will share with you tips, insights, mindset hacks and other tools that can help you on your journey.
You’ll get the videos sent directly to your inbox so that you can view them when it suits you. (Because I know you’re super busy)
That’s seven amazing women over seven days, with a live call with all the speakers and attendees on the last day.