Why Are Most CEOs Men? 7 Tips For Women Leaders in the Canadian Workplace

Let’s try something. Why don’t we go on Google, open up our search engine, and type in the following phrase: “Top 50 CEOs in the world.” Now let’s click the first link that pops up and try to point out one similarity between most of the names on the list. That’s right – doesn’t take much to realize that they are disproportionately male.

The numbers at large are just as shocking as you would expect. The report “Women CEOs in America 2021,” offered by the Women Business Collaborative, showed that 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women. This number becomes even more troubling when one considers the fact that women make up roughly 50% of the workforce. What’s more, men made up only 41% of students at American postsecondary institutions in fall 2020, with women outnumbering them on two-year and three-year college campuses by millions. Why then, do men monopolize the rooms behind the big doors?

As International Women’s Day approaches, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality in the workplace, yet also acknowledge the persistent challenges that women continue to face, particularly in leadership roles.

Consider, for instance, the inspiring example of Arlene Dickinson, a prominent Canadian businesswoman and former CEO of Venture Communications. Despite her notable achievements, women like Dickinson remain the exception rather than the norm in the upper echelons of corporate leadership.


Read More:
7 Tips to Staying Happy and Motivated at Work

Navigating Workplace Conversations: What Newcomers Need to Know

Tips to Overcome Language Barriers in the Canadian Workplace


Unpacking the Gender Gap in CEO Representation

Several factors contribute to the underrepresentation of women in CEO roles. One significant barrier is the pervasive presence of gender bias in corporate culture. Deep-rooted stereotypes and societal expectations often dictate that leadership qualities align more closely with traditionally masculine traits, perpetuating the notion that men are more suited for executive positions. This bias can manifest in hiring and promotion decisions, creating a systemic disadvantage for women aspiring to climb the corporate ladder.

Furthermore, structural barriers such as the lack of mentorship opportunities, limited access to networking circles, and implicit bias in performance evaluations further impede women’s progression into leadership roles. Additionally, the challenge of work-life balance, particularly for those juggling caregiving responsibilities, can create additional hurdles for women seeking to ascend to the top ranks of corporate leadership.

Tips for Women Leaders in the Canadian Workplace:

Despite these challenges, women leaders in the Canadian workplace can take proactive steps to advance their careers and overcome barriers to leadership. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Build a Strong Support Network

Oft-ignored, and far more important than we think, a network of professionals is vital in achieving professional success. Cultivate relationships with mentors, sponsors, and allies who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy in your career journey. Seek out mentors who can offer insights and advice based on their own experiences navigating the corporate landscape.

2. Develop Leadership Skills

Invest in developing and honing your leadership skills, regardless of your current job title or level of experience. This will put you at the forefront of consideration when a promotion to a managerial position is being deliberated. Take advantage of training programs, workshops, and professional development opportunities to enhance your leadership capabilitie.

3. Advocate for Yourself

Don’t be afraid to assert your worth in the workplace. It is important to note that professional settings require professional approaches to interpersonal communication and relationships, and assertiveness is a big part of being professional. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities for advancement, and confidently communicate your achievements, skills, and career aspirations to decision-makers.

4. Challenge Gender Bias and Stereotypes

Challenge gender bias and stereotypes in the workplace by advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Speak up against discriminatory practices and advocate for policies and initiatives that promote gender equality and support women’s advancement.

5. Seek out Leadership Roles

No one is going to recognize your leadership skills if you do not go out of your way to demonstrate them! Volunteer for leadership opportunities within your organization or community to gain experience and visibility as a leader. Take on challenging projects, lead cross-functional teams, and demonstrate your ability to drive results and inspire others.

6. Prioritize Work-Life Integration

Prioritize work-life integration by setting boundaries, delegating tasks, and seeking support when needed. Advocate for flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies that support employees in balancing their professional and personal responsibilities.

7. Lead by Example

Lead by example and be a role model for other women aspiring to leadership positions. Support and empower your colleagues, mentor emerging leaders, and champion diversity and inclusion initiatives in your organization.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day and reflect on the achievements of women leaders, it is imperative to recognize the collective responsibility in promoting gender equality and fostering an environment where all individuals, regardless of gender, can thrive and succeed in leadership roles.



Related Articles