Top 8 Obstacles To Female Leadership & How To Confront Them

Explore eight obstacles to female leadership that exist both in the workplace and on the home front, as well as how you can confront them.

Although the number of women CEOs in S&P 500 companies reached an all-time high in 2020, the figure is still astonishingly low at 7.8%. Gender equity in the workplace has undoubtedly advanced over the past few decades, but our society still has a long way to go as many obstacles to female leadership still persist.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss eight obstacles to female leadership that exist both in the workplace and on the home front. we’ll also offer an idea for a step forward into a more equitable future, one with more women at the leadership table.

8 Obstacles To Female Leadership

1. Job Seeking

Women apply for 20% fewer jobs than their male counterparts, according to LinkedIn. The study includes behavioral data that shows women are self-selecting out of career opportunities. One potential reason for this difference in job-seeking behavior is that women may judge their own qualifications (or perceived lack thereof) more harshly than men, who may have more confidence in their abilities.

2. Salary Negotiation

When a woman does apply for a job, land an interview, and receive an offer, obstacles to female leadership show up once again at the negotiating table. Women don’t advocate nearly as strongly as men for higher salaries, even in traditionally high-paying careers. Women also tend to give up more income for job fulfillment or flexibility, especially if they have children or other responsibilities at home.

3. Imposter Syndrome

Three-quarters of executive women report struggling with imposter syndrome at some point in their lives, which the American Psychological Association describes as “feeling like a fraud.” This syndrome can prevent women from advocating for themselves during job reviews or for higher-level opportunities. It can also cause women to take on more work than they should, often resulting in burnout.

4. Underrepresentation

With men filling over 90% of CEO positions and 80% of board seats in the U.S., this disparity is one of the major obstacles to female leadership that presently exists. To complicate matters further, many companies still aren’t obligated to report how many women sit on their boards, although regulations are beginning to change.

5. The Gender Pay Gap

It is well known that compensation for women and men is not equal in America. “The highest-paid senior executive women earned 84.6 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts in 2019,” notes a February 2021 ABC News article. This issue is often a direct result of the four previously listed obstacles to female leadership (among other factors) and puts women in the C-suite at a significant disadvantage.

6. Access To Funding

Women within corporations aren’t the only ones up against challenges. Women entrepreneurs also face obstacles to female leadership in the form of a lack of access to capital for their businesses. In 2019, companies with solely female founders only received 2% of venture capital (VC) funding, while partially women-owned businesses received 17%.

7. Building Alliances

You’ve likely heard the saying, “it’s who you know, not what you know.” Many formal and informal alliances exist for men in the business world. While women have come a long way in this area, the opportunities aren’t as plentiful simply because there aren’t as many women in leadership positions who can hold out a hand and pull other women up the ranks.

8. Work/Life Balance

In general, women still shoulder more responsibilities at home than men, which means their need for work/life balance can impact not only where they work and the pay they receive but also the jobs they accept. For example, some women, especially single mothers, may not be able to travel for business, while their male counterparts may have a wife to look after the household while they’re at work.

How Financial Planning Can Help Women Reach Their Career Goals

Although the obstacles to female leadership are significant, having a financial advocate on your side is critical to dealing with common challenges women face in their careers.

At Curio Wealth, our team can help you through situations like salary negotiations and understanding your compensation package, whether it includes stock options or restricted stock units. We can provide a valuable perspective on what you’re worth so you don’t leave money on the table when negotiating for a higher salary.

We’ll also be a champion for your financial future. We can support you and take some of the load off your plate when it comes to your financial plan, investments, taxes, insurance, and estate plan. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how we can help.

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