Podcast: How employers can help women progress in their careers

Via Soundcloud.

The development professionals will need to have broader skill sets, including a combination of technical and soft skills, according to Sylvia Megret, chief operating officer at ACDI/VOCA, an economic development organization that supports communities worldwide.

“There is, and has been for a while, an increasing need for more integrated skills,” said Megret, adding that there has been “a real shift to cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral integrated programming.”

Strong technical, business development, management, and negotiation skills are all required for effective leadership, Megret said. But women in particular tend to undervalue their contribution in terms of soft skills and lack confidence in negotiation-type situations. This is, in part, due to an absence of role models as there are still too few women in leadership roles in the sector.

“Building that confidence in oneself and others is really critical in organizational culture as we bring women along to equal pay and equal opportunity,” Megret suggested.

“What’s really important is [that] employers and organizations need to promote appreciative culture and recognize different leadership styles, like feminist leadership, and also recognize, as part of their culture, their high performers,” she added.

Through training, collaborative sessions and clear conversations, employers can ensure space exists for women to break through the glass ceiling.

“Let’s talk about what the different needs are and what women need to grow in their careers,” she said.

Catch up on other episodes from the series:

• Helen Clark on the need for more women in global dev leadership.
• Nasra Ismail on the barriers to increased female leadership.
Why women need intentional mentorship in the development sector.
• Kimberly King on the 'superpowers' women in the sector need.

Devex, with financial support from our partner 2U, is exploring the skills and education development sector professionals will need for the future. Visit the Focus on: DevPros 2030 page for more.

About the authors

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.
  • Rebecca Root

    Rebecca Root is a Reporter and Editorial Associate at Devex producing news stories, video, and podcasts as well as partnership content. She has a background in finance, travel, and global development journalism and has written for a variety of publications while living and working in New York, London, and Barcelona.