The majority of our businesses are missing out on an important resource – women in senior leadership positions. While the numbers have inched up, women still only represent 26.5% of executive and senior level positions and only 5.2% of CEO positions. Why is this an issue? According to a Forbes article, women are wired to have strengths in areas that are critical to business success. Women have the ability to recognize opportunities for growth more readily. They have a keen ability to build strategic connections that strengthen organizations. Women tend to approach problem solving more holistically and integrate more diverse perspectives into their problem-solving process, helping them see a wider range of potential solutions. Women also excel at building relationships and networks that fuel business success and long-term growth.
From a biblical perspective we know that God created man and woman in His image, and gave them both the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Proverbs 31:10-31 paints a detailed image of a woman of noble character as one who provides food for her family, manages property, runs profitable businesses, and contributes to her community. She also has wisdom and teaches others. In short, her life is fruitful and productive.
God needs men and women in senior and executive leadership. Both men and women were created to partner with Him in their work. Men can contribute to helping more women find their place at the table by mentoring women. And women can be proactive about tapping into more of their God-given leadership potential by taking these steps.
- Create community around you. Women thrive in community. Surround yourself with like-minded Christian women at work who will encourage you, hold you accountable, and with whom you can process the challenges you face. Hebrews 10:24-25
- Find a mentor. Make a note of the areas in which you want to grow. Find a leader who is strong in those areas and ask that person to meet with you. Be prepared with specific questions you’d like to ask. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring relationship. It could be a one-time opportunity or informal meetings from time to time. Proverbs 27:17
- Take a step of faith. Women have a tendency to wait until they feel competent enough to take on a new role, where men tend to take on the new role to become competent. We all have room to grow, but you’ll never know your true potential if you don’t step out in faith. Acknowledge your strengths and get ready to grow. Ephesians 2:10
- Lean on and trust in God. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Study God’s Word, pray, listen and follow God’s lead. He will open doors and bring you opportunities you could never have achieved without Him.
We can’t afford to ignore the disparity in leadership any longer. God designed men and women to work together to reflect the fullness of His character. If we don’t, it hurts us all, not just women. We all win when every person, man and woman, steps up to be all God created them to be for His glory.