2014 started off as a great year for women in leadership, with the January announcement that Mary Barra was tapped as the new CEO for General Motors, making her the auto industry's first female chief executive officer.
To discuss this groundbreaking development, Randstad's own Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Kelley recently appeared on Boston's New England Cable News (NECN) to discuss Barra's appointment and other ways companies can help women leaders advance to top levels in the workplace.
Barra Tapped As CEO A "Legendary" Move
During NECN's nightly business show, Kelley discussed the importance of Barra's highly visible new role as the top executive of one of Detroit's Big Three auto companies. Not only is she a female CEO in a heavily male-dominated industry, but she's also an engineer -- which means she's an important role model for women engineers who are still working to gain visibility in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries.
A recent Huffington Post article noted that "one of the difficulties with keeping women in technology is that there are few female mentors for them to look to ... without women to look to at the top, many women in STEM fields get discouraged and leave the workforce."
With Barra, a 52-year-old mother of two, reaching the pinnacle of her career as a female engineer, she's an important example for other women professionals hoping to follow in her footsteps.
How Can Companies Pave The Way For More Women CEOs?
During the NECN interview, Kelley also spoke about ways employers can help more women workers advance in the workplace, referencing Randstad's recent engagement survey, which focused on what women want in the workplace, which included:
- Equal Pay
- More women in leadership positions
- Family-friendly work policies
- Leadership development programs
- Flexibility on scheduling/telecommuting
On the importance of family-friendly work policies, Kelley said: "Both women and men want to work for an employer who understand work/life balance, who appreciate that they have families back at home supporting them in the workplace. They want to work for companies who have these programs in place."
Be sure to watch the video to hear more of Kristen Kelley's interview with NECN!