Women in Leadership Encouraged to Assist Aspirants Hindered By Gender Inequality

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Jamaica News: Women in leadership are being encouraged to assist other females who are pursuing this goal, but have been hindered by gender inequality.

This urging comes from University of the West Indies (UWI) Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth, who expressed concern over the “dearth of balance” relating to women occupying leadership positions in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

She was speaking at a ‘Women of Courage’ luncheon to mark the first anniversary of the charity organization, Sarah’s Children, at the S Hotel in Montego Bay on March 7.

Dr. Longsworth said while data indicates that more females than men are graduating from tertiary institutions, the proverbial “glass ceiling” continues to prevent a significant number of women from rising to top tier positions.

She referenced a 2017 study which showed that only five per cent of Fortune 500 companies are headed by females, despite the burgeoning brilliance of women in second tier positions.

Dr. Longsworth contended that although opportunities are materializing for women, the total number being afforded the chance is “only just cracking that glass ceiling… not shattering it”.

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“Here, in the region and in Jamaica, we see some cracks too, but not enough. In business, in politics, in academia, we see a lack of balance in women represented at the highest level,” she emphasized.

Dr. Longsworth noted that in some instances, women are placed in top tier leadership, only when an organization is deemed on the brink of failure.

“When the organization fails, the woman is thrown off the glass cliff as being responsible for that failure. The research shows that when and if the woman is able to rescue the organization, she is also more likely to be replaced by a man,” she added.

Against this background, Dr. Longsworth contended that women in leadership must “recognize our role in guiding, mentoring and supporting younger women and not seeing them as competition”.

“We must serve as mentors to guide [them and] point out the hidden dangers and the opportunities,” the noted academic further stated.

In the meantime, Dr. Longsworth, while acknowledging the significance of the day, contended that “it is not enough for us [women] to just celebrate International Women’s Day [observed on March 8] once a year”.

“We have to ensure that [the] progress that we are making is continued, is sustained and is sustainable,” she underscored.

Sarah’s Children, founded by journalist and philanthropist, Janet Silvera, is an advocacy group formed with the objective of caring for and protecting children and the elderly, particularly, those who are disabled.


Source: JIS News

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