Even though only 18% of Indian women hold leadership positions in the workforce, new LinkedIn data released on Wednesday shows that they are now more interested in entrepreneurship opportunities than men.
Data from the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report showed that between 2016 and 2021, the proportion of female founders increased by 2.68 times, compared to 1.79 times for men. In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic’s fastest-growing years for female entrepreneurship, this growth rate was seen.
The data also showed that women are not promoted internally to leadership positions in businesses at the same rate as men, which is another factor contributing to their underrepresentation in leadership positions. Men are 42% more likely than women to be promoted into leadership roles.
This may help to explain why, as women’s employment rates decline along the corporate ladder, they fall more behind their male counterparts in senior career stages and in leadership positions.
In India, the proportion of women in leadership positions has dropped from 29% at the senior level to a startling 18% at the managerial level.
“Our new data is indicative of one thing: working women in India are being held back by more barriers in the workplace when compared to men. But despite the adversity, many women remain undeterred and continue to chart their own path by pivoting to entrepreneurship and building careers that allow them to work on their own terms with greater flexibility,” said Ruchee Anand, Senior Director, India Talent & Learning Solutions at LinkedIn, in a statement.
“We saw this especially in the years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021), when women sheltered from a shrinking job market by starting their own businesses that also created opportunities for other women,” Anand added.
The new data also demonstrates that progress is being made. Since 2015, the percentage of women hired into leadership positions has increased by 1.36 times, from 12% to 24% this year. Still, more work needs to be done.
“As employers navigate this challenge of making work ‘work’ for women, they must remember that factors like internal mobility, fair hiring practices with a focus on skills, and flexibility are going to prove key in not just levelling the playing field for women, but also improving efficiency through balanced representation, diversity of perspectives and inclusive leadership at the workplace,” Anand said.
Furthermore, LinkedIn has made certain of its courses accessible for free until August 22 in an effort to support female entrepreneurs and women in the workforce. Gender in Negotiation, Getting to Yes: Advice for Female Founders on How to Get Funded, Leadership Strategies for Women, and Success Strategies for Women in the Workplace are a few of them.