Viewpoint: If you want more women in your C-suite, try these 3 things

Many companies are focusing on diversity and inclusion in their recruitment strategies, but some are still far behind equality. An investment fund partner shared three strategies for leaders seeking to put more women in the C-suite, according to an Aug. 10 op-ed published in Fortune.

The number of women leading Fortune 500 companies was a record-breaking 41 in 2021, yet women make up just 8.2 percent of the cohort's total. In a 2021 global gender equity survey, 47 percent of female chiefs with revenue between $10 million and $1 billion said their gender was an obstacle. That number was fewer than 2 percent for males.

In her viewpoint piece, Allison Long Pettine, managing partner of the private investment firm Ridge Group Investments, explores three tools that can help recruit women into the C-suite

  1. Stop comparing women to masculine stereotypes for success.

    Women who are competing for an executive position or for startup funding may be up against mostly male competitors. The people hiring or allocating funding may also be men. Women are compared to their male competitors and can get left behind if they don't match up to male-centered stereotypes on what makes a good leader.

    To avoid letting unconscious biases seep through, the author and her team make a conscious effort when evaluating pitches to look at what makes a company unique. She said she encourages female founders to lead and think differently to create new patterns for success.

  2. Reevaluate what makes a candidate 'risky.'

    Many companies say they're embracing diversity and inclusion. However, some companies default to candidates who look similar to people already holding executive positions. Someone who breaks the mold can feel risky. The perceived risk people have for women is usually based on inaccuracies. For example, women put more work in while at work than men, a study found.

  3. Embrace the conflict.

    A diverse group of people will not all think alike. A company that is committed to valuing diversity and innovation will have to learn to love the conflict that it brings. Leaders should recognize that welcoming unique leaders can also create many opportunities to learn. 

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