Vietnam is one of the leading countries in reducing the gender gap, and implementing gender equality in general. There is a high female labor force participation rate, especially in management and as business owners. With their strong presence in managerial positions and leadership skills, women are making significant contributions to corporate’s successes. However, their career achievement is not without challenges. Ms. Nguyen Phuong Mai, Managing Director of Navigos Search, discussed on women empowerment in the sustainable development of businesses.
Vietnamese Women: confident leadership
According to the Report on Women’s role in business sustainable development, published by Navigos Group Vietnam in 2018, 40% of survey respondents said that over 30% of their organizations’ management positions are held by females. Vietnamese women are capable of holding key positions in businesses, ranging from mid-level management to C-level positions, such as CEOs.
Vietnamese women have demonstrated their capability in leadership positions, especially with outstanding strategic implementation and problem solving. Their flair in emotional intelligence, attention to detail, and diplomacy, compared to their male counterparts, contributes to their excellent communication skill, a key aspect of management. In addition, female managers are also responsive to changes, thus resulting in effective change management. Such qualities have enabled many women to reach their career heights.
Barriers to the development of female leaders
Vietnam boasts a high level of women in managerial roles, nevertheless this is far from ideal. In the same Report, 80% of respondents stated that males and females have access to equal opportunities for recruitment, promotion and management positions. This indicates a strong awareness of gender equality among survey respondents. As an experienced, professional recruiter, Ms. Phuong Mai emphasized that there is often no gap between male and female candidates for the same positions, in terms of expertise and qualities. This raises the question of why the perception of women and their opportunities as managers remain lacking.
Despite their efforts, Vietnamese women are still subject to preconception from society, businesses, their family and even themselves. “Women leaders are typically faced with three issues: being underestimated compared to male counterparts, lacking of support and sympathy from their families, and suffering from social bias about the role of women in family” – said Ms. Phuong Mai. Such difficulties also create extra anxiety and stress on female managers, making their career path more challenging.
Overcoming barriers towards success in managerial positions
The path to leadership is not simple, and this holds true especially for women. In the pursuit of their career, women need to break down invisible barriers that are keeping them from confidence and growth. According to Ms. Phuong Mai, a change of perception is the first step towards this path. Once women have a more positive and clear perception of themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be better utilised to make progress in their careers. Additionally, awareness of society’s preconceptions could help female leaders overcome such bias and focus on their goals.
“The expectation of perfection imposed upon Vietnamese women in their work life, as well as family and social life, has created enormous pressure, shaping women’s perception of themselves and their roles. Such expectation is obstructing women’s career progress, and should no longer be held.”
On the topic of opportunities in the digital age, Ms. Phuong Mai emphasizes the need for women to stay updated with technology and improve their leadership skills, which allows businesses to keep up with their industry, and makes effective use of modern technology in their development.
While women have what it takes to be excellent leaders, success in such positions would require a better understanding of themselves and a success-oriented mindset. A positive change in perception and specific career goals will set a strong foundation for female leadership in Vietnam.
Source: Nu Doanh Nhan (http://bit.ly/2msHmWK)