For every woman who climbs the career ladder in an organization, two women leave the company. This is shown by US research by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey. According to the study, the influx of women into senior positions has never been as high as it is today.
Deloitte also states that in 2022, more women will be actively looking for a different role compared to last year. There are several possible reasons for this. Two factors are important: the ‘male’ mold within organizations and the so-called appearance, the tendency to keep working and stay ‘present’ all the time.
Everyone is male, unless otherwise stated
In a previous column I explained that many organizations rely on a men model. The ideal employee is a man who works full time with as few other priorities as possible. The (unconscious) striving for this ideal has created a certain mold. A template that women don’t fit – and men with different goals.
A child is expected to have a negative effect on a woman’s performance
For example, having children has different consequences for men compared to women. Men are expected to have someone behind them who takes on most of the care tasks. As a result, he is minimally distracted when performing his work. The organization notes very little paternity.
For women it is completely different. A child is expected to have a negative effect on performance. The assumption is that the priorities of the worker from the job to the child. This is one of the reasons why women do not fit the ideal employee image.
Stress and fatigue complaints
Think of a children’s toy, a shapeshifter, a cube with square, round, and triangular holes, and blocks that just fit into one of the holes. The object of the game is to insert all the blocks into the cube.
You’ve probably seen a child playing with it. What happens if a child can’t find the right hole? Toddler tries several times to squeeze the square block through the triangular hole. If that doesn’t work, the kid throws the block aside. Simply because he has not yet learned to look for the right solution.
This also happens when you are constantly trying to push women into the mainstream template of the ideal employee. Judging women by these standards always deviates from ideal. They cannot fully meet that. It can cause stress.
Research by LeanIn and McKinsey shows that 43 percent of female leaders have complaints of burnout. Even Deloitte came out with 46 percent in their research. One important reason is the feeling of needing to be present all the time. The fact that they deviate from the norm plays a major role in this. Women will overcompensate for it.
How? For example, by making family life as invisible as possible to the business owner. They want to hide the expected negative consequences of motherhood. This reinforces attendance, the desire to show that you are constantly available to work. You do not run away from the edges.
This happens, for example, in employees who are sick, but feel that they cannot contact the disease. Women who have children often face in senior (sub) positions.
Both men and women should not hide the fact that they also have a life
Did you miss a meeting because you had to pick up your kids from daycare? Many ambitious women would never say that. This makes the dual role of the professional and the mother clear.
Compare that to men. Once the man indicates that he will take his children from the shelter, he does not stop at the applause. And it just swings: “Father’s Day.” Another word for less work day, because you are with your offspring.
Get away from the perfect picture
In business, women are constantly forced to swim against the tide, which leads to stress and fatigue. This will only change if we adjust the image of a working (full-time) woman (with or without children).
Both men and women should not hide the fact that they have a life outside of their jobs. Only when we realize that the image of the ideal employee is dated will there be room for women to remain true to themselves. And then we can take steps.
If we don’t break this, women will flock in droves. Then the “pipeline leak” will not stop for the time being and gender goals will not be achieved again.