One example of that may be evident in a recent Harvard Business Publishing study finding that on Twitter, while men and women "follow" a similar number of users, men have 15% more followers than women. "Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other," the report says. It was also noted that this difference may suggest that women are less compelled to have followers, "or have more stringent thresholds for reciprocating relationships."
- Establishing a strong personal brand. "Women often underplay what they've done and the problem is when you do that, people will start to believe you,' Kaputa says. "Women have to get better at promoting themselves — what they stand for, what makes them different than someone else. They need to fight for their message."
- Doing their homework. "Women still don't expect a glass ceiling, but it's there and they need to be prepared. They should do their due diligence and work for companies that have women on the board of directors or in other leadership positions," Spence says. "They're much more likely to rise in such organizations and be paid the same as men."
- Setting aside doubts. "Some women have this deep-seated fear that they're not good enough to lead," Kaputa says. "They have this collaborative style that makes them become servant leaders. But they need to just lead. They need to stick their hand up, volunteer to do things and take on leadership roles. They need to see themselves as leaders."
Both Spence and Kaputa agree that besides the strong communication and collaborations skills women bring to the table, they may be in the best position to attract the younger talent needed in the coming years to remain competitive.
For example, studies say young workers often want more flexibility in their work life, as they seek to have a better balance of work/life issues. They also believe in more collaboration, better communication about what an organization is doing and want access to more opportunities.
"Young people are demanding all these things, and women are the ones who want these same things and have dealt with these issues," Spence says. "Businesses can't afford not to move women to the top."
Anita Bruzzese is author of "45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy ... and How to Avoid Them" (www.45things.com). Write to her c/o: Gannett ContentOne, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22107. For a reply, include a SASE.