It’s no secret that the retail industry is losing talented female employees at an alarming rate.
In fact, the Network of Executive Women (NEW) published “The Female Leadership Crisis” report showing that while women are being hired at near-equal rates as men for both the CPG and retail industries, they are leaving jobs at a significantly higher rate, especially at the senior executive and C-suite level.
Why are women leaving and why is their representation vital to the success of the retail industry? We spoke with NEW president and CEO Sarah Alter about representative leadership and “Kicking Glass,” her scheduled presentation at the “When Women Lead” symposium, Oct. 2 at the Path to Purchase Expo (P2PX) in Minneapolis.
Why do you think “When Women Lead” is such an important event?
ALTER: At NEW we say, “Advancing all women – it’s just good business.” Plenty of research proves that inclusive, gender-diverse companies are more innovative and perform better. Women – and many men – have so-called “feminine” leadership skills, including empathy, vulnerability and collaborative skills, which are the leadership skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.
But our leadership teams still do not reflect our customers or our communities, and retail and consumer goods are losing women at a much faster rate than men, especially at the executive level, where turnover of women executives is four times the turnover rate of executive men.
Why did NEW decide to sign on as a part of this event?
ALTER: As a society, we’re ready to tackle harassment, pay disparity, outdated corporate hierarchies, the opportunity gap and other barriers to equality. But we won’t reach gender equality without the vocal, active commitment of women and men at every level, especially those in positions of power and influence – starting with those in the C-suite. We also need to address the intersection of gender and racial bias holding back women of color. Only with clear intent and collaboration, will we reach gender equality and pay parity.
Can you tell us a little about your “Kicking Glass” presentation and what attendees can expect?
ALTER: We’ll outline the reasons women experience the workplace much differently than men, why turnover is so high among women executives, and offer strategies for promoting gender equality in the workplace.
As a speaker, what are some of the key takeaways you hope to provide?
ALTER: We’d like to leave the event with the sense that even more women and men are committed to embedding gender diversity and inclusion in their teams and throughout their organization and have a few more tools to help them.
- To learn more and register for “When Women Lead,” click here.
As a bonus, all attendees will receive a one-year membership to the Network of Executive Women along with a free ticket to the Women of Excellence Awards Reception on Oct. 3.
Founded in 2001, the Network of Executive Women represents nearly 11,000 members, 850 companies, 21 regions and 110 corporate partners in the retail, consumer goods, financial services and technology sectors. For more information about NEW and its learning programs, regions, events, advocacy and insights, visit newonline.org.