Why we need more women in leadership roles

In today’s global economy and shrinking world, nations that welcome gender inclusivity will experience much better outcomes

By Alisha Moopen

Published: Thu 2 Mar 2023, 7:39 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Mar 2023, 3:44 PM

There is no shortage of qualified women capable of occupying leadership positions, as they are as proficient as men in obtaining degrees in all fields. Yet, from corporate boardrooms to parliaments, from healthcare companies to courts, from non-profit organisations to universities, men are more likely than women to rise to the highest paying and most prestigious leadership roles.

It is clear that the true potential of women is yet to be fully acknowledged and recognised. According to a 2021 study, women account for 71 per cent of all global workforce professionals as well as 59 per cent of all graduates in the medical, biomedical, and health sciences fields. These are very positive signs. Similarly, as Mauro F. Guillen has rightly mentioned in his book, the proportion of women with a college degree is nearly 40 per cent as compared to men, which stands at 32 per cent. This shift has been a gradual progression that has been observed over several decades now.

As women seek opportunities beyond the household, they are more focused on pursuing higher education, a career and fulfil their potential alongside their male counterparts. In the US, the average age of women and men getting married has increased to 27 and 29 respectively, increasing the age at which women are considering having children. Postponement of childbearing is also limiting the number of children, allowing women to actively contribute their talent and time elsewhere. Even from a health perspective, women are expected to outlive their male counterparts by at least four to seven years, prolonging the years spent at work or accumulating savings and their wealth. As they live longer, they are more likely to invest in healthcare, lifestyle and education, for themselves and for their families.

Despite this, only 25 per cent of senior leadership roles are held by women. Therefore, the emphasis placed on #EmbraceEquity for this year’s International Women's Day is of utmost importance, as it brings attention to the crucial requirement for gender equity and embracing their potential to the fullest. It means providing the right opportunities for women to prosper, believing in their abilities and guiding them to work towards their aspirations. The unbiased approach that encourages everyone in an organisation or country to bring their unique value or strength to the table that can support collective growth.

According to a McKinsey report, if we act to strengthen gender equality, we could add $13 trillion to global GDP by 2030. The UAE, which places a high priority on gender balance and has many women in prominent leadership roles, provides a clear example of nations that have progressed and benefited tremendously from women being given the opportunity to lead. In fact, the UAE currently boasts one of the highest rates of female participation in governments worldwide, with women comprising 50 per cent of the members of the Federal National Council. From leading the Hope probe to Mars to successfully positioning the country as a leader on the global stage through Expo 2020 during one of the most difficult times in history, the women leaders of the UAE have outshone others.

In the field of healthcare, the struggle to lead is palpable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), women at the executive level make up just 25 per cent of healthcare leadership positions, a trend that needs to change. The most successful companies are those that can effectively leverage and embrace the unique strengths that women and men bring to the table.

At Aster DM Healthcare, women comprise almost 60 per cent of the workforce. They are present at every level of operations, working alongside men to ensure that the best care is provided to patients/customers. Some of the critical roles, like Group HR and Group Medical and Quality roles, are led by women today. The belief is not about giving an opportunity to someone based on gender; it’s about equity, and giving the right opportunity to able women who can bring the best to the table.

It is time we moved beyond gender-based stereotypes and uplift women to do what they are truly capable of achieving. A world where differences are valued and celebrated would be a diverse and inclusive world that would automatically forge women’s equality. After all, women constitute half of the population.

In today’s global economy and shrinking world, nations that embrace these differences will experience much better outcomes. Similarly, growth of an organisation fuelled by an inclusive culture can ensure better retention of talent, followed by openness to adopt and implement new ideas which is key to any company remaining relevant in recent times.


More news from Lifestyle