Kerry O'Neill

Mar 08, 2022

International Women’s Day 2022: How Can Businesses #BreakTheBias In Leadership?


The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. Whilst there’s evidence that when there are at least three women on a company board it improves corporate governance,  unconscious bias still exists in the workplace. 

It’s everyone’s responsibility to remove this unconscious bias. Drawing on our 15+ years of placing many senior and C-suite female leaders in well-known organisations, we share our seasoned advice on what women can do to #BreakTheBias and secure the roles they deserve.

Speak up

If you want the opportunity to be a leader, the reality is that it won’t always be presented to you. And if you wait around for someone to invite you to the table, you might be waiting a while.

You need to create the opportunity yourself. The first step in reaching that next level of leadership is self-belief, and the second step is asking for it.

Show your worth

Women are such doers, but we’re also naturally modest, and we don’t shout about our achievements enough. If you want to speak up, you’ve got to demonstrate just how valuable you are. 

Demonstrate that you can do the leadership role you think you deserve, and that you work just as hard as anyone else. Know your worth – and don’t be afraid to show it.

Create your own role

We strongly advise that women write their own job descriptions if they can. Let the company know there’s a genuine requirement for the role you could do, and you may end up creating your very own position.

Let’s take the example of a director-level job. Becoming a director is challenging because you can feel like you must wait for someone to leave. But businesses don’t have to have a set of standard director roles. Create your own – and don’t doubt it’s worth, it’s just as valuable as the others.

Be strategic

If you’ve been promoted within your company to a director role, then you’ll know a lot about how the business works. But you need to remember that your position isn’t like your previous ones, you can’t go back to being hands-on.

You’re a director now, which is an extremely strategic role. It’s supposed to be something different to what you’ve done before. Therefore, be strategic. It’s genuinely your job to do so now.

Welcome what women bring

Something that’s been observed is that women react differently to men – yet this isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps we do have ‘softer’ elements to us, but it’s crucial to have a mix. Everyone should welcome what women bring – we ask the important questions like ‘what do people think about that?’.

What’s more, there’s evidence of boards performing better with women on them. And it’s because of our differences, like how we take less extreme risks, and keep  an eye on boosting efficiency. 

#BreakTheBias this International Women’s Day 

The reality is that society takes a long time to change, but we’re slowly managing to #BreakTheBias with support such as flexible working. People need to be aware of unconscious bias, and consider what can be done to give women a voice in leadership. 

To share your thoughts on how to #BreakTheBias in leadership thisInternational Women’s Day, join the conversation with Cast UK on  LinkedIn  or  Twitter.

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