Chad Harrison investigates the role of women in the heavy industries

In celebration of International Women’s day Chad Harrison International looks at the landscape of senior management roles held by women and what can be done to improve the situation.

Since 2000, the number of female leaders in politics, excluding monarchs and figureheads has more than doubled. However, of the 193 UN member states, the current number of female leaders is nine heads of state and eight heads of government. This is far from equal and 100 years on from women achieving the vote in the UK, there is still much work to do.

How is this reflected in the business world and what needs to change to ensure more women reach the top of the organogram?

Women in business

Client opinion

Ambition is not the only factor

Sarah Jones is the CEO of Lafarge France. She has progressed within the industry holding numerous positions of seniority. Here, she provides her expert opinion on female representation in the cement sector and what can be done to achieve equality.

What is preventing women from entering the sector?

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What obstacles are there in breaking through the glass ceiling?

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Women in leadership

"It's a variety of factors, but primarily it's the male dominance of the sector"

Women in engineering

What are the personal attributes required to achieve progression?

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What advice would you give to women starting in the sector?

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As well as the cement sector, the construction element of the built environment has been heavily researched with a large report reference in World Cement in 2016. In it there are some positive statistics which illustrate that women are beginning to take up more senior positions.

“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

The number of women in C-suite level senior roles tops out at 24%. One-third of global businesses have no women in senior management roles.

Women in Life Sciences

Women are scarce in scientific research and development. Globally, 28.8% of those employed in the sector are women. Women are also more likely to leave Scientific, technological, engineering and maths (STEM) careers than men.

In the European Union, women are slowly closing the gap and in 2016 40.1% of scientists and engineers were women.

Only 12.2% of women hold board-level positions.

Employed in scientific research

Board representation

Leave rates

How can we operate better?

After analysing the statistics and hearing real-life examples, what can be done to improve equality in the workplace? A report by Catalyst.org found that women get fewer of the ‘hot jobs’ required to advance in the workplace.

Highly visible, mission-critical roles and international experiences are hallmarks of ‘hot jobs’ and often lead to career advancement. Catalyst concluded that women get fewer of these opportunities and as a result, it hampers their progression.

#MentorHer

Lean In is an organisation promoting the empowerment of women in the workplace. It is committed to helping women achieve their ambitions. A recent campaign is aimed at recommending men in senior positions commit to mentoring women.

Mentoring is critical to the success of women across industries and people with mentors are more likely to get promoted. Astonishingly, women are 24% less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders. Interestingly, by mentoring women organisations benefit from diverse leadership which results in higher profits.

Women are often excluded

Commit to equal access

Make sure the women you work with get equal access to opportunities.

Women have fewer sponsors

Advocate for a woman

Put women’s names forward for stretch assignments and promotions