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Women in the Workplace 2016 report - is there a soccer girl advantage?

Lori Hanemann

I want to pass on this insightful and important report from Lean In and McKinsey & Company on Women in the Workplace 2016.  Soccer Girl is all about empowerment and equality and wanting to encourage women to stay in the field of soccer/football in their professional lives to bring more female voices to the sport and therefore  more diverse input and decision-making at all levels. The study is from corporate America, but I believe the data is useful worldwide, so have a look and let me know what resonates with you.

The purpose of the study and findings is to provide companies the data and information they need to promote female leadership and gender equality. One of the things I got out of it, and have lived it in different professional positions, is that many companies have policies and procedures in which they refer to when asked about best practices or answering to Boards, but they are inconsistent in practicing them. This inaction leaves a big gap for employees at all levels when decision making happens about hiring, promotions, gender diversity, and professional development. I also found interesting a statistic that one of the big differences between women and men in not wanting a higher leadership role was the pressure. I wonder if female athletes feel that way, seeing how practice and match performance brings a lot of pressure and having already experienced so much of that on the field, maybe it translates into the office. I’m curious about that - do you think female athletes have any advantage in moving up in the corporate world?

Key findings

  • Women are less interested in becoming top executives—and see the pros and cons of senior leadership differently

  • Women ask for feedback as often as men—but are less likely to receive it

  • Women get less access to senior leaders

  • Women are negotiating as often as men—but face pushback when they do

The four clear steps recommended to companies to make change:

  • Make a compelling case for gender diversity.

  • Ensure that hiring, promotions, and reviews are fair.

  • Invest in more employee training.

  • Focus on accountability and results.


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