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Developing the next wave of female leaders

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The business case of increasing the proportion of women in leadership is not something new. Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) share tips on how to develop and sustain women leaders.

The benefits and business case of increasing the proportion of women in leadership is not something new. From enhanced decision-making to better business outcomes, research has, time and again, proven the benefits of greater gender diversity and grooming women for board positions.

Now the question is how organisations can develop and sustain women in leadership. Here are three ways to enable, facilitate, and groom women for senior leadership roles.

1. Get buy-in and commitment from management

Firstly, the CEO must own this initiative to increase and sustain female leaders. If the CEO does not believe in the value of coaching and sponsoring women leaders, and does not acknowledge his or her responsibility in populating the leadership pipeline with women, then nothing will change.

2. Re-evaluate workflow and policies

Secondly, organisations must re-think how work can be done and how performance should be measured. This can be achieved through developing and implementing gender-inclusive policies and programmes, such as flexible work arrangements and leave benefits which will help support the needs of individuals at different stages of their lives.

Career ladders can also be redesigned as career lattices to broaden career pathways, including horizontal and diagonal movement in addition to the conventional vertical progression. Most importantly, the performance measurement and reward structure must be aligned so that the employees’ contributions to the performance outcomes or deliverables are equitably recognised.

3. Create an inclusive workplace culture within the organisation

Thirdly, the organisational culture must support and reinforce the value of inclusion. If there is an unconscious bias that senior positions should be helmed by men, it is likely that one’s mental schema of an “ideal worker”, work styles and behaviours will be skewed accordingly. This often results in an unconscious entrenched culture which rewards those who conform to masculine norms and behaviours. Transforming such a culture would require conscious inclusion of women in senior leadership roles.

This means consciously and deliberately supporting, facilitating, and encouraging women leadership across the organisation from recruitment to career progression and development.

Although research has shown an increase in women leaders in Singapore over the years, employers should consistently enable gender inclusion at the senior management and board levels. By doing so, organisations can then reap the full benefits of available talent at senior levels regardless of gender.


TAFEP holds regular workshops to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit www.tafep.sg to find out more.

Photo / StockUnlimited

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