In your opinion, what does the current situation look like for women in leadership roles?
I have to say that over the past five years, the situation for women has really started showing signs of getting better. You see more and more women climbing career ladders; we have more female CEOs; and more women are present in leadership roles, particularly if you look in areas such as media. But I have to admit that women are still struggling often to get to the top, or even to climb within their organizations. They are confronted with more barriers and obstacles than men, which they have to face.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle for female leaders currently?
There are many obstacles, but probably one of the more prevalent one is ‘work/life balance’. Many women, especially those who have a parenting role are struggling with the mental load of caring for a household and for children, as well as performing in their professional lives. Of course, there are other obstacles, such as a lack of role models. While we do have more and more women gaining power, we still don’t see enough female role models which would be a source of encouragement and motivation for women to get to the top. Finally, we have the problem of equal pay, which does not really exist yet. As long as women are underpaid for the same position, we are facing a huge inequality problem in many organizations.
Where would you like to see fundamental change?
I hope that the new generation that is popping up across industries is much more equally involved in domestic activities, regardless of gender. If you look at statistics, many more women are still staying home from work to take care of children and to manage the household. It’s the mental load which is still often associated with women.
What advice would you give to young leaders campaigning for a more diverse and equal workplace?
The most important fundamental thing is to change organizations; to change organizational culture which encourages a more inclusive and diverse workforce. My overall opinion is not to change women or to change men, but to change organizations.