Overcoming the Motherhood Penalty

FDM Group offers advice on how to overcome four key challenges faced by women in leadership in 2024.

Women continue to face unique challenges and hidden gender barriers in the workplace. Global business and tech consultancy FDM Group (https://www.fdmgroup.com) offers advice on how to overcome four challenges faced by women in leadership in 2024:

1. Stereotypes and societal expectations: In particular, the stigma surrounding work-life balance disproportionately affects women, making it challenging for them to balance family responsibilities with leadership aspirations. This stigma plays a large role in the “motherhood penalty,” a phenomenon that is widening the gender pay gap and preventing women from assuming more leadership roles. In response, organizations must implement inclusive policies, such as flexible working arrangements, childcare options, and appropriate parental leave policies.

2. Unconscious biases: Unconscious gender biases seep into decision-making processes, subtly favoring traditional leadership traits often associated with men. Training and awareness programs are pivotal to combating unconscious biases and challenging gender stereotypes. And to tackle the problem at the root, organizations need to closely examine their recruitment processes.

3. Limited access to high-impact opportunities: When women are excluded from critical projects, their contributions may go unnoticed, limiting their professional growth. Organizations must focus on equal project assignments based on skills and performance.

4. Lack of mentors: Without visible figures who have navigated the path to leadership, women may struggle to envision their own trajectories. Sponsors, advocates, and mentors within an organization can be instrumental in championing women and contributing to their professional growth.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.