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NEW report: Industry women ‘undervalued, undermined’

Thursday, September 29, 2016  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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The Network of Executive Women and the Center for Creative Leadership have published a new report that identifies workplace factors that support or block women’s career advancement and offers real-world strategies to support gender parity.

"Green Lights & Stop Signs: The Road to Gender Parity in Retail and Consumer Goods” outlines critical support factors and common barriers that affect women’s career advancement in the retail, consumer goods and services industry.

Women’s careers are driven by organizational commitment to gender diversity, developmental support through business relationships and company initiatives, and support from a professional network, according to the report. Career barriers include conflicting work/life priorities, being overlooked and undervalued, and being undermined.

Download report

"The retail and consumer goods industry recognizes the importance of creating workplace cultures and policies that level the playing field women,” said NEW President and CEO Joan Toth. "By working together, organizations and talent can create those workplaces, where everyone can fulfill their potential.”

The report is based on insights gathered from more than 900 NEW members. Among its key findings:

  • Nearly a quarter of the women surveyed identified competing work/life priorities as a reason they have held back from pursuing leadership positions.

  • Women are often overlooked, not developed for leadership positions and perceived as having less leadership potential or career commitment.

  • Women of color face more career barriers and experience less career support.

  • Women of all ages and career level would benefit from greater developmental support.

  • A significant percentage of women say their career goals have been undermined, intentionally and unintentionally. They report their qualifications are routinely questioned.

  • Career barriers become minor obstacles for some and insurmountable challenges for others. Many of these obstacles can be removed when organizations and women tackle them together.

  • The most predictive factors of career satisfaction are the level of an organization’s developmental support and the degree to which women experience being overlooked and underappreciated.

"Green Lights & Stop Signs is a follow up to "Accelerators: Critical Competencies for Women Leaders in Retail and Consumer Goods" which identified 13 factors that can make – or break – a woman’s career in the retail and consumer goods industry. 

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