Corporate South Africa is dominated by men. Their testosterone fills our boardrooms and their misogyny drips from their biceps. Okay, so perhaps that is a little dramatic, but the reality is that, according to Grant Thornton’s “Women in Business” report, only 23% of leadership roles are filled with the fairer sex, and, remarkably, it’s getting worse, with a four percent drop from last year.

In addition to this, the report found that a manly 39% of companies surveyed have no women in senior management positions at all. In a country striving for equality this is both disappointing and alarming, especially as we seem to be ignoring the fact that women tend to be better leaders.

Several studies over the years have shown the correlation between female leaders and their ability to drive better bottom lines, relative to companies that lack women in leadership positions.

A recent study conducted by EY and The Peterson Institute for International Economics found that among 21 980 listed firms in 91 countries, a 30% female leadership added up to six percentage-points to its net profit, compared to those that have none.

“The impact of having more women in senior leadership on net margin, when one third of companies studied do not, begs the question of what would be the global economic impact if more women rose in the ranks?” asks Stephen R Howe Jr, EY US Chairman and EY Americas Managing Partner.

“The research demonstrates that while increasing the number of women directors and CEOs is important, growing the percentage of female leaders in the C-suite would likely benefit the bottom line even more.”

So how can we change it? Well, being a training company, we believe that ExecuTrain can make an impact, and we have therefore developed a suite of women-only managerial and skills courses, designed to prepare South Africa’s talented ladies for the challenges faced by our patriarchal business world.

Research shows that when it comes to personal development, men indeed are from Mars, and Women, Venus and the genders need a different approach. Men and women simply experience life differently and have varied approaches to tackling situations.

Becoming a leader, for either gender, is a challenge that requires developing new ways of thinking and approaching situations. As these roles have been moulded around masculine thought, this transition is usually easier for men, and women have to adapt more to play the game.

According to Sonia McDonald, CEO of LHQ, “Unfortunately, traditional mixed gender training courses don’t tackle the hidden gender biases and male-oriented cultures of most businesses. Often, the organisation hasn’t even realised that it exists. So while they give women the skills and knowledge they need to become leaders, hidden processes within the organisation inhibit their promotion to the role.”

The solution? To tailor leadership training for women and create programmes that include individualised coaching to allow women to discover what they can offer, and how to manage themselves in a conservative, male environment.

ExecuTrain has done just this and if you are interested in either empowering yourself, or the women in your organisation, give us a call for more information, or click on the links below.