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Women and Leadership Roles: Struggles Faced

Many people are of the belief that society has moved on since the time that women couldn’t vote and believe that there is complete gender equality in society and more specifically, the workplace. This, unfortunately, is often not the case with women continuing to regularly encounter challenges when trying to advance. Whilst many would have you believe women don’t face any more issues than their male counterparts in the workplace, we think it is important to highlight struggles that are fundamental to women trying to progress to higher roles.

Issues Faced by Women in the Workplace

The biggest issues faced by women in the workplace in 2018 is undeniably the fact that they are paid less than men. Worldwide, women face the wage gap and on average it is estimated that women would have to work an extra 70 days a year than men just to catch up to the earnings of their male peers. In the UK alone statistics released this year have revealed that 8 in 10 firms, including those in the public sector pay men more than women.

The inequality in accessing what the industry would describe as ‘hot jobs’ is still a major issue, with women still being offered a few jobs that come with international work, high visibility or mission-critical roles. These types of jobs are key if you want to reach the higher levels of leadership and it is because women don’t have access to these that they cannot achieve these roles in the long term.

Lack of Female Role Models

There is also a distinct lack of female role models in the workplace with 2/3 women reporting that there are no visible high level or senior females in their workplace which they have admitted has been a huge obstacle in advancing their careers. Visibility is extremely important in allowing women to feel that they too can reach these higher leadership roles and is something that needs to be considered by more businesses.

Despite it being 100 years, this year since women were granted the ability to vote, the equality in society and the workplace hasn’t changed much and as is evident, is plagued with inequality and other blockades for women. Ultimately, visibility, equal pay and equal treatment are the key areas where employers need to focus on in order to begin reducing these everyday struggles of working women.


Civil Service College offers a highly practical programme called Women and Breakthrough Leadership that addresses the issues and challenges faced by women in leadership. This one-day programme at our centre in London offers advice and approaches which are proven to work in terms of leading and managing. If you would like to enrol in our training courses, contact us today on 0208 069 9000 or email us at


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