According to Grant Thornton International Business Report 2016 “Women in business Turning promise into practice”, Latvia has been ranked in the high 7th place as a country where 35% senior roles are held by women shortly falling behind our closest neighbours – Lithuania (3rd place) and Estonia (4th place). Read the full report here [ 5459 kb ].
The fact that there is such a large percentage of women who occupy leading positions in Eastern Europe, is not that surprising. It probably has its own historical factors, such as the Second World War and the Soviet Union system’s left heritage – the change in proportion of women and men as well as the fact that during the period from the 40’s until the early 90’s there was no special distribution of the so-called men's and women's positions. Due to the lack of available workforce women carried out work that was considered to be a typical men’s work before.
Despite this historical fact, I would like to argue that not only in business gender does not matter, and a lot depends on the so called host-gene that both genders possess, but also the fact that the Eastern European countries, where there are a high percentage women-leaders, women are those who are focused on lifelong learning. Women have a natural ability to constantly improve themselves, as a supporting evidenced to this is the observation that in higher education institutions, courses, seminars and conference women are the most active participants.
On the other hand, most men seem so self-evident that they have the host-gene; they are very comfortable living with their privileged position and with a sense that they are power-oriented.
In society there are different stereotypes that women will drop out of the work cycle or their career will be interrupted because of making a family – mothers with children will not have 100% focus on work. Because of these stereotypes, women must prove themselves and it requires to invest more energy in proving that they are equivalent.
Often when we meet our colleagues from Western countries, I have to answer the question of whether women from the Baltic States feel discrimination from men, when women occupy leading positions. Usaully in such situations the first response is negative and therefore the crux of the matter becomes unnecessary. Each woman has her own experience and perhaps a story about her experienced difficulties, but we always need to ask ourselves whether we are one of those who squeaks and says - men are more on strategy and power-oriented. But do we - women - know how to show ourselves? Women should not rely on any stereotypes, but to set their own self-chosen career path. We must make the same brave decisions, risk, be team players, educate ourselves, learn certain skills, understand the logic of men and it is not enough just to have our women's intuition, but we need to understand the business till its smallest seam. Always ask yourself a question - what is that thing I can I do to develop myself as a person and professional?
What kind of a woman is a good leader? – It is a woman who has a strong personality with natural courage to make decisions, ability to take risks and assume responsibility, with excellent communication skills and ability to encourage, captivate, explain, involve – she must have naturally aspirated ability to inspire people to achieve the set goals and objectives together. She shouldn’t be meticulous, but have a vision for the future, she shouldn’t be getting sucked into the daily detailed work, but to see the business overview. Create an environment that is attractive to everyone, environment that gives satisfaction to herself and others. And also once in a while be endowed with a good sense of humour.
How my life has been influenced by the fact that I am a leader? - In everyday life I do not feel any discrimination between men and women. In my family I am the same leader as I am in business - I urge my children to grow and develop, teach them to make their own decisions etc. - Everything lies in a person's life style, if you emphasize one of the life part’s issues, that’s when these issues start to raise.