Why Women Make Better Business Leaders

Women hold their own in leadership positions, proving their value as business executives and politicians. In fact, women made up over half of the U.S. workforce as of 2019 — significantly more than in previous generations.

Harvard Business Review analysis found that women in business scored higher than men on most key leadership qualities, including resilience and results-driven attitudes. Women also pull ahead in motivation, bold leadership, and teamwork.

The data also shows that managers who are men recognize women as more effective in several professional areas.

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report demonstrates women’s prowess in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well. Currently, 54% of senior-level women spend time outside of their job responsibilities to improve DEI in the workplace. Of senior-level men, only 46% do this.

Leadership Skills

Women in business bring skills that can shift workplace culture. Women often display different leadership styles than men, generally leading with compassion, ethics, and respect.

According to 2018 Pew Research Center data, 61% of Americans believe women business leaders show more compassion and empathy than men. Respondents also said men and women are both:

  • Strong role models for children
  • Good at compromising
  • Willing to take risks

Women tend to possess the following qualities, which may give them an edge in business:

Women value work-life balance

Many women leaders balance kids and families with their professional lives. Therefore, they know how to multitask and set priorities, and they encourage their employees to do the same.

Women are empathetic

Empathy allows leaders to build and nurture relationships with their teams. It also helps women in leadership understand what their employees need to improve their productivity and feel appreciated.

Women are strong communicators

Good communication skills lead to high-performing teams and projects. Communication is also essential for setting boundaries and expectations. Women leaders who communicate effectively and confidently can lead their teams to success.

Women handle crisis situations well

Organizational changes require flexibility and critical thinking. Workers look to their leaders for clarity and guidance. A leader’s response to crisis situations can affect the workplace climate.

Women Leaders in the Private vs. Public Sector

Data shows that women working in the private sector face more risk than men, especially during tumultuous times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Public sector jobs, however, typically offer more job security than the private sector.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women have suffered disproportionate job losses related to the pandemic. For example, women made up 53.5% of overall net job losses in the U.S. between February 2020 and March 2021.

The pandemic also influenced where women worked in 2020. BLS data finds that a higher percentage of women than men worked from home in 2020. Likewise, 10.8% more men than women worked in the workplace during 2020.

Note that most statistical data comparing men and women does not account for nonbinary workers. Likewise, many data sources — including the BLS — conflate gender and sex, using terms like “female” and “women” interchangeably.