Organizational Stereotypes and Challenges for Gender Equality

By: Research Lab
| Date: October 10, 2022 |
Category: TIF Insights

In today’s world, the concept of leadership, and who should be in power, is shifting. Purposeful brand building and the commitment to equality are creating a new parameter in the business world.

Companies are becoming more human-focused, open to diversity, and better adapted to the complexities of a multicultural world.

Women have historically and systemically been made invisible by a patriarchal society. Even today, in 2022, women continue to be reduced to the space of domesticity and reproduction. This has become a harrowingly ineffective stereotype.

With the reversal of Roe Vs. Wade in the United States, for example, it has reversed our progress and made it clear that women need to advocate for themselves more than ever.

We hope to illuminate just how powerful and effective women’s presence can be in the workplace.

How Advertising Created Today’s Stereotypical Domesticity

The notion that a woman’s place is in the home was greatly normalized around the 1950s. Through advertisements, the use of various products—from vacuums to groceries to cleaning supplies—solidified that it was a woman’s job to maintain the home.

This further insinuated that a female’s main fulfillment came from her dedication to producing, raising, and caring for her family.

By tending to her children and sending them to school with neatly-pressed clothes, keeping “her” home spotless, and always having a warm, delicious meal waiting for her husband after work—only then would she be a true woman.

Perhaps this is ideal for some, but it’s absurd to think that this kind of lifestyle would make all women happy. With the perpetuation of these stereotypes, it has become problematic and sometimes dangerous for females who don’t adhere to this mentality.  

Evolution of Working Women and  The Raise of Female Leadership

Nonetheless, we should never underestimate how much women have contributed to the global workforce throughout the ages. Let’s take a look at how our roles have greatly evolved over the centuries.

  • The presence of women in the workforce is traced back to the 13th century. However, it became more evident in the 18th century, when women became spinners and weavers, dressmakers, goldsmiths, button makers, brewers, and metal polishers.

  • In the 19th century, the “Working Woman” appeared stage-front for the first time. This created outrage in a society resistant to change. Men feared they were losing control over women and their activities.

  • The 20th century represented the expansion of the trade and service industry, which put women in office-type jobs.

  • Women became an essential part of national and international productivity. They developed skills and occupied more positions than ever. This put them in roles of great importance, managing various companies around the world.

  • In the midst of world wars, women were encouraged to join the workforce whilst males increasingly entered the military.

Current Stereotypes and Challenges for Gender Equality

Society has defined limited roles for women from a dissociated, male-controlled perspective.

This has inherently affected business structures throughout the world. While efforts are being made to upend these archaic views, there are still many challenges to overcome. Here are just a few:

  • Wage gaps between males and females persist, with the average woman making 14% less than males for the same roles.

  • Women continue to struggle to reach management positions.

  • Some organizations still structurally determine the roles that men and women “should” inhabit.

  • Gender equality is often viewed as an obligation to meet quotas. Instead of genuinely creating more dynamic, authentic environments, many companies only implement female representation to avoid reprisals.

In a society that pretends to be inclusive and egalitarian, these beliefs are still deeply engrained. We must ask ourselves how we can make a permanent shift and not just adhere to an imposed law.

If those who create businesses don’t genuinely commit to equality, we’ll only see superficial, short-term change.

To make a lasting change, we need to build the bridges to gender equality—in the workplace and in society. If these weak, isolated laws aren’t implemented in our everyday laws, true equality will never be reached in our everyday lives.

Female Leadership in Modern Corporations: A Competitive Edge

Women’s influence on companies, and organizations in general, has been fundamental in transforming traditional, outdated models. The marketing and sales sector has too long been dominated by “sharks” and “Wall Street Wolves”. This is not the formula to success. In our case, At The Ideas Factory, we humanize every single client interaction, focusing more on long-term impact than short-term wins (err… exploitation).

We believe in leading through appreciation and acceptance of identity. We hold a great responsibility for our global clients. We’re constantly inspired by the process and growth that we achieve. Continuing to reach new stages—while lifting up our community— within our company is the ultimate goal. Within each digital campaign, image, video, and website that we produce, we seek to present a new, balanced vision of the world. We carry out each project with a motive for sustainable equality.

At The Ideas Factory, we love to see how business structures transform into a more gender-inclusive model. Let’s highlight some of our favorite examples:

  • Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, who has been concerned that her brand gains a place in the market without losing sight of the positive environmental impact and female empowerment, moving away from its organizational essence of the classic beauty stereotypes and false promises of slimming and anti-aging.

  • Ilana Milkes, former Colombian women’s soccer player, founded and created World Tech Makers, in search of teaching programming to children and young people. She democratized access to the digital world by giving thousands of people access to programming. This was her way of contributing and improving Colombians’ quality of life and their impact on others.

As a female-led company, we at The Ideas Factory collaborate with remarkable women leaders, such as:

  • Reem Borrows, who specializes in organizational leadership and consolidation of high-performance teams.

  • Lee Elhage, who created EIUS HEALTH after realizing the difficulties of finding low-risk supplements during her last pregnancy. She developed a brand of organic prenatal vitamins from sustainable sources, avoiding generic vitamins’ aggravating side effects for expecting mothers.

  • Mavalynne Orozco, a firm believer in human activism and impactful actions, promotes female empowerment with tools to make this world a better place.

  • Nicola and Beanie own the delectable vegan tapas restaurant, YCA, in Brisbane, Australia. Being a place where everyone is welcome, this establishment promotes a philosophy free of labels and stereotypes.

These female entrepreneurs have all created something magical, giving the best of themselves through their authentic leadership.

While the road hasn’t been easy for them, these women have expressed, developed, and manifested their ideas into ventures that make our world a better place.

Future Strategic Values: Female Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

According to 6 Seconds’ study of more than 24,000 global leaders and workers, female leadership has remarkable advantages over male leadership in the sector of emotional intelligence.

Female leaders are more skilled at identifying behavioral patterns and effectively managing their work teams from an emotional perspective. They are, therefore, more qualified to evaluate and make relevant decisions than their male counterparts.

Complementary studies have indicated that organizations with women on their Board of Directors have increased their productivity by up to 16%. This is due, in part, to female leaders’ forward-thinking skills.

While many steps have been taken towards the future, much remains to be done. Even now, in 2022, a plethora of societies continue to limit women to domestic life. While this seemingly passes as innocent, “traditional” culture, it does more harm than good.

This type of thinking prevents women from obtaining education and corporate preparation. It limits females’ individual and intellectual development, as well as their right to choose what path is right for them.

The struggle for women’s rights is far from over, and we must continue battling to obliterate these reductionary visions.

Unfortunately, gender stereotypes still undermine the foundation of our workplaces. We need to create new foundations for a world in which our abilities— rather than our biological sex, gender or identity— determines our professional worth.

Working Toward a More Balanced Future

At this point in time, it seems that Western society is working toward closing inequality gaps.  Nonetheless, there are still many spaces throughout the world where women cannot develop their full potential.

They continue to be delegated to domestic spaces, in which there seems no probable route for advancement or escape.

We cannot abandon our fight for equality. Everyone deserves a safe space in their personal and professional lives.

While there is still much to work on, we must nonetheless celebrate what we have accomplished as a global society:

  • Throughout the world, females are strengthening governments and organizations. These women are dismantling the classic vision of how things should work. They are focusing on building alliances while bridging agreements between organizations that have previously disagreed.

  • Female leadership is now driving corporate evolution in many instances. Women are increasingly leading senior management of organizational structures.

  • In our contemporary society, changing family structures have allowed women to break free from the stereotypes that previously held them captive as “just a homemaker.”

  • Women are expressing themselves more and more in the workplace. They continue to develop their talents and abilities, adding value to their work teams through exercising positive, influential leadership.

  • With enhanced empathy, women continue to impact companies by facilitating conflict resolution in a clear, efficient, and effective way.

  • Organizations that have included female leaders have strengthened their ability in delegating tasks and developing teams. This stems from a foundation of trust and a practical search for solutions.

  • Companies with female leadership are more productive, organized, and better able to adapt to today’s dynamic challenges within an ever-changing society.

We are creating a path toward empowered workers and stronger, innovative, and more equitable companies.

Our future is supported by strategic employment of individuals dedicated to teamwork, unwavering communication, and mutual respect.  Rather than sticking to outdated conceptions of gender, native languages, or geographical origins, we base our future on inclusivity and collaboration.

With the advancement of strong, determined women, the background noise of judgmental ignorance and judgment will only decrease.

While there will always be challenges, leading women will continue to inspire and transform society through their business models and innovative approaches to living life successfully.

At The Ideas Factory, we believe in a future where females occupy the leadership positions they deserve.

Our vision is that prejudice will cease to exist; organizations will appreciate people for their potential and abilities— and not judge them because of their appearance, origin, identity, or gender.

We invite all companies to become part of this revolutionary change. Together, we can lay the societal foundations in which female leadership is normalized.

Perceptions and biases will not limit people’s capabilities and performance.

Change is happening now; it’s profound and forthcoming. At The Ideas Factory, we are committed to this change.

Are you ready to help us transform the world through female leadership? Schedule a short coffee-chat with our leadership team here


Research & Content – Said Puentes & David Brand