Eman Al-Hillawi on five steps to a more diverse consulting industry

Gender bias is something that many women, including myself, experience throughout their consulting careers. While this problem won’t be addressed overnight, focusing on the five areas below will help women to overcome common obstacles and rise to the top of the consulting industry:

1. Create a supportive network of female advocates

As it can already be more challenging for women to achieve success in the consultancy world, they need to work together and support each other. Having access to experienced female mentors, for example, through schemes such as the Santander Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring Programme, is also vital.

2. Encourage women to share negative experiences

Speaking out about experiences of gender bias and similar challenges promotes solidarity and enables women to receive advice from those who have been in their shoes. This would have been hugely valuable to me at the start of my career, when I often felt overlooked when in the company of my male co-founder (through no fault of his own!).

3. Tackle ‘imposter syndrome’

Building confidence is crucial to overcoming ‘imposter syndrome’, a common problem experienced by women in business. To do this, they need to focus on pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, while learning to trust their professional voice and talent.

4. Leverage the benefits of flexible working

Flexible working has already had a positive impact on people’s work-life balance but it’s important to keep building on these changes for the benefit of women’s careers. It’s now easier for women and men to manage family responsibilities alongside work commitments and through a focus on outputs rather than hours at our laptops, we can all get more out of our day and a healthier work-life balance.

5. Break taboos around medical issues

Breaking taboos around challenges posed by medical issues, such as the menopause, is vital to break biases in business. In order to build a strong culture of empathy and solidarity, we need to educate all areas of the industry about the challenges involved in health-related issues.

To help accelerate the progression of rising female consulting stars, we need to encourage close collaboration, while focusing on women’s capabilities and experience. By encouraging them to discuss their experiences, promoting the importance of mentoring and leveraging the benefits of flexible working, we can achieve a more diverse and rewarding consulting industry for everyone.

To learn more about how to kickstart your consultancy career at Entec Si, visit here.

Published: Mar 22, 2022

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