3 Ways for Women to Become C-suite Executives Despite the odds being against them

3 Ways for Women to Become C-suite Executives Despite the odds being against them

Women who are qualified to hold leadership roles abound in our culture. And we are aware that giving women the opportunity to hold leadership roles not only closes the gender equity gap but also enhances overall business success. Research demonstrates that women outperform males in the areas of resilience, self-development, honesty, and integrity. They also exhibit more desirable leadership traits than men.

However, according to the most recent Fortune Global 500 list, there were just 44 female CEOs leading 8.8% of Fortune 500 companies in the United States, and the numbers are significantly worse for women abroad. There are just 24 female CEOs in charge of Global 500 corporations, or just 4.8% of the top companies in the world.

Not only are there very few women in leadership positions, but after the first 10 years of a woman’s career, her chances of making it to the C-suite drastically decline. According to a LinkedIn survey, nearly twice as many males (1.8x) reach leadership positions over their first ten years as women do. Parental leave and childcare are two of the main causes of this divide, and over half of the working women who responded to the survey felt they had to choose between prioritising their careers or their children.

How therefore, after ten years, is a woman to shatter the glass ceiling and reach the C-suite? Any career must be upskilled to advance, especially at the C-suite level. Women now have unparalleled access to online learning opportunities, so they may enrol in classes regardless of where they are right now—at work, at home, or while on parental leave.

Here are 3 concrete ways that upskilling can help a woman succeed in top leadership positions.



Today, improving one’s skills is simple. Numerous online learning and skill-building programmes provide numerous, frequently general learning options in the commercial, digital, and functional sectors. To enter the C-suite, high-impact, focused upskilling is essential. The Wharton School of Business Executive MBA lists the following as the top leadership qualities required for the C-suite: subject matter expertise, decision-making, strategic thinking, and foresight.

These are necessary for women who want to hold top leadership positions. However, not many workplaces are set up to support this kind of education. The finest online learning programmes to position professionals to develop executive leadership skills are those that focus on targeted, strategic reskilling and upskilling programmes. Women should carefully examine both the courses provided and curriculums inside edtech platforms before choosing one. Stronger platforms will provide complete curricula, industry-specific specialities, and innovative, adaptable methodologies that may be used in a variety of businesses.

The upskilling movement may present us with the chance we’ve been waiting for to finally bring about significant change in the fight for gender diversity in leadership. Women will acquire the skills they need to be leaders in the new digital era if they double down on an investment in upskilling before or even after the 10-year mark of their career.



Successful businesses will be those who can compete on an increasing rate of learning in the future of work. According to IMF projections, the use of digital technology could lead to the loss of 11% of the existing jobs held by women. This is more than the proportion of jobs held by men. Because there are more positions available and advanced digital skills are needed, organisations are already having trouble attracting workers. For instance, a World Economic Forum analysis estimates that by the end of 2022, at least 54% of all employees will need to significantly reskill and upskill.

Women are at a distinct disadvantage in the STEM fields, particularly at the leadership level. Only 36% of STEM degrees are held by women, and only 25% of STEM workers are female, according to a WEF-LinkedIn survey. Additionally, just 22% of AI specialists and 12% of machine learning specialists are female.

Female participation in courses like AI, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing, but especially in Data Science, has been very high at Great Learning. Upskilling offers a clear approach to give women an advantage in growing, male-dominated industries where it can be even harder to get into the C-suite. The following criteria should be prioritised by female learners when choosing the best upskilling platform:

  • Include female leaders in the curriculum to give learners valuable role models.
  • Provide flexible formats so women can manage balancing their career and personal lives.
  • Enroll existing executives in the C-Suite.
  • Offer assurance of learning rather than only access to it.



One of the most successful programmes for professional development is mentoring in the workplace. Mentors are the coaches who can direct you in the right direction, while role models are the end zone. Both the mentee and the mentor get something significant from a connection that fosters transformational learning.

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However, women receive less of the sponsorship and mentoring that creates opportunities. A 2019 McKinsey and LeanIn.Org survey found that women are 24% less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders. In addition, the report reveals that 62% of women of colour think that the absence of a strong mentor hinders their advancement. Again, this is due to the fact that men are more likely than women to hold leadership positions. In order to get mentorship, women may need to look beyond the workplace.

Finding someone with whom you can develop a casual, inspiring companionship that is motivated by curiosity, as opposed to the binary instructor-student exchange, is the key to advancing your profession through mentored upskilling.

To locate this kind of partnership, one needs search beyond the typical and frequently well-publicized learning platforms and instead focus on those that support initiatives that provide:

  • Mentorship that provides upskillers with individualised human interaction and practical experience that is frequently required for management and leadership that cannot be learned through a classroom setting alone
    In an online learning environment, mentorship also promotes accountability and student retention.
  • Women who must juggle several career and family responsibilities may find this to be of particular importance.

Women must make early career investments in upskilling in order to close the promotion gap. Currently, the pandemic has compounded the leadership statistics for working women. More people are burned out than ever who have continued working or have returned to the workforce. It is even more important for women to have clear promotional tracks at work given the anticipated recession so they can avoid any future setbacks in their finances and professional development.

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About the Author: Evelyn

Evelyn is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles about business strategy and operations, with a focus on finance. She also published articles on payroll, small business funding, and content marketing. Evelyn also writes about improving company culture, optimizing business social media pages, and choosing appropriate organizational structures for small businesses.

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