Since 1987, the month of March has been designated Women’s History Month in the U.S., with International Women’s Day on March 8th as the focal point of the observance. Throughout the month, Witt/Kieffer will be celebrating women’s leadership in the workplace by highlighting our commitment to female leadership as well as sharing related thought leadership.
Throughout Witt/Kieffer’s 50-year history, female leader advancement has been a key commitment for our firm; female leaders represent 85 percent of our candidate slates and 38 percent of placements for client organizations. We recognize that there is a need for continued progress regarding balance and opportunities for women leaders. Despite a strong correlation between women in leadership and increased organizational performance, vast gender gaps in leadership show that more can be done to promote gender balance among executives, as Joyce De Leo has written.
In the pursuit of gender equity in the workplace, it is vital not only to consider the need for more women in leadership, but also to work toward a shared understanding of differences in work-style. For instance, women with a desire to “climb the ladder” will often employ different strategies and subscribe to different definitions of success compared to their male counterparts. Gender balance is not about encouraging women to act more like men, but rather about creating greater awareness on both sides, along with better opportunities for mentoring and coaching. These sentiments of gender balance from Donna Padilla and Robin Mamlet are echoed in Witt/Kieffer’s own Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement:
“Witt/Kieffer believes a culture of diversity and inclusion, where the entire range of human experience is welcomed and celebrated, can strengthen and transform organizations. We strive to model this belief in our work and services to our clients.”
In welcoming the entire range of human experience, men and women share in the benefits of gender balance. In Padilla’s words, “It is to the benefit of the individual woman and the entire company when a female leader is a strong negotiator. If you have the skills to negotiate successfully for yourself, you will also be able to advocate well for the company that you lead.” When viewed through this lens, gender balance is not simply a women’s issue, but a human experience issue that relates to better workplaces and better leadership. Collectively, we can create a #BalanceforBetter.
By Erica Campbell