Empowering Women for Business Growth

February 18, 2014

Whether you look at the world of commerce in the United States or abroad, it’s clear females meet significant barriers to achieving economic equality with the opposite sex. This is unfortunate because female leaders and entrepreneurs have much to offer.

In a study conducted by Zenger and Folkman, overall leadership by gender and by position showed female executives surpassed their male counterparts in some of the study’s 16 competencies. And, these weren’t just in the capacity of “nurturing aptitude,” which is sometimes assumed. Instead, the study showed women scoring higher than men in areas such as taking initiative; driving for results; displaying high honesty and integrity; collaboration and teamwork; and championing change.

Then, check out global statistics like these:

  • Only 38% of all small businesses registered worldwide are owned by women.
  • Of the 135 million children in the world between 7 and 18 who are not being educated, 60% are girls.*

Now, consider what women have to offer the business world. Examine the various statistics that demonstrate how females are an under-utilized asset. Logically, you’ll discover there is a compelling business case for developing women and incorporating them into the work force in senior management positions or helping females start their own companies or both.

This means, whether you are a corporation or able to participate in a microlending capacity, you should examine your social responsibility strategy to see how effectively you are maximizing your contribution to the development of women. Test your efforts against these questions:

  • Do your CSR initiatives provide opportunity for or lend support to the development of women within your organization, your community, or globally?
  • Do your internal diversity initiatives support the professional advancement of females?
  • Are you collaborating with other organizations to create additional synergies that focus on helping females better access resources or reach their potential business talent?
  • Are the programs you’ve developed, which are focused on the advancement and personal development of women, designed to be sustainable?

If you can respond affirmatively to each of these, your dedication to the advancement of women will help improve the quality of your work force and the quality of life in the world in which we live.