Advancing Gender Equality in Leadership Roles

Christiane Avila Berlinck  
Chief Human Resources Officer - OLX, Brasil

Christiane inspires talents to thrive by creating irresistible solutions, empowering them to lead the progress of our society. She has diverse and multicultural experience with expertise in Finance, Operations, and Human Resources, having lived in different countries such as Brazil, Mexico, and the USA.

When it comes to talks, there are many voices sharing their opinions on the subject, but not all of these voices are aligned in taking actionable steps to implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. I understand the situation. In recent years, we have witnessed various pledges, positive intentions, and active discussions aimed at increasing awareness and engagement on this topic. However, the reality is that progress has been disappointingly slow. To bridge the gap between intention and effective results, a more profound and systematic investment of time is required to strategize and prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion, just as we do with other critical business subjects in the workplace.


The “Women in the Workplace 2023” report by McKinsey represents one of the largest studies on the state of women and highlighted both progress and persistent challenges in achieving gender parity in the workplace mainly in leadership roles. The report outlines a nuanced view of women’s representation across corporate pipelines, emphasising significant gains in senior leadership yet underscoring the fragility of these achievements. The study pinpoints the “broken rung” at the managerial level as a critical hurdle, slowing down the advancement of women and making senior leadership roles less accessible. Debunking myths about women’s ambition and workplace experiences, the findings reveal that women are as ambitious as men, with a desire for senior leadership roles unaffected by the pandemic or the shift to flexible work arrangements. Flexible working conditions, contrary to diminishing women’s career aspirations, have empowered many to pursue their goals more vigorously.


Addressing microaggressions emerges as another vital area, with the report illustrating their significant, detrimental impact on women’s workplace experiences and career progression. These acts of bias contribute to a hostile work environment, particularly for women of colour, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities, undermining their sense of belonging and professional growth.


Furthermore, the study emphasises the universal appeal of flexible work arrangements, challenging the stereotype that only women benefit from them. Both men and women rank flexibility highly, acknowledging it as a key factor for future organisational success.


It is interesting that none of those findings are really new and recommendations for companies to foster an equality gender in leadership roles outcomes to not only identify areas for improvement, clarifying managers’ roles in promoting diversity and inclusion, addressing microaggressions directly, and fully leveraging the benefits of flexible working models as suggested by the study but also measure women representation across leadership roles as well as have intentional actions to close the gender GAP. While progress has been made, much work remains to remove the systemic barriers that prevent women from reaching their full potential.