Insights into Women’s Contribution at Work

Women’s contribution at work is still often seen as secondary to that of men. A few years ago I interviewed a group of successful women. I wanted to gain deeper insight into the contribution they feel they make at work.  The women were at executive, senior and middle management level within the companies or in private practice. Industries covered were: financial services, investments, media, information technology, law and medicine.


Being human. There was unilateral agreement that women’s contribution is compassion, a deeper understanding and humanness in the work place. They feel they bring greater authenticity.  Women are just themselves at work as opposed to wearing masks. The interviewees feel they are better able to relate to soft issues and respect feelings more than men do.

Women feel they are more in touch with their emotions. And so it enables them to relate to others more comfortably than men do. They also will not hesitate to show their human side which creates a safe space for others. This allows other people to be themselves and to communicate more openly. It was felt that men are more problem focussed whereas women are more people focussed. Therefore women’s contribution was noticeably different to men in this regard.

Harmony. The women interviewed are not driven by their ego. Instead they aim to bring greater harmony to the workplace. As a result women’s contribution facilitates increased productivity and a healthy work environment. Some of the women see themselves as champions for women causes albeit it in a quiet and determined way. It was felt that men often find it easier to relate to women. In some cases men said they found it liberating to be able to express their feelings to their women colleagues.

Collaboration. This group felt that women’s contribution was to collaborate. Their focus is to achieve results for the business. None of them are driven by personal agendas. With this in mind they will do whatever is required to deliver, even at the expense of their personal well-being.

Intuition. There were 2 distinct types of responses by women at work on the role of intuition. A small group of women are very intellectual in their approach to work. These women are unable to identify where intuition impacted on their lives. The majority of women though responded categorically that intuition plays a strong role. It is particularly in interpersonal relationships: with subordinates, colleagues and clients. Therefore intuition helps women to sum others up quickly.

Many indicated that they back up their intuition with facts. In addition, their intuition acts as a prompt to probe deeper into issues. Women feel they like to look beneath the surface. This leads to women’s contribution being positive in helping others feel heard.

Competence. Several women feel it is still assumed that women are not competent and do not know what they are doing. This perception is a motivator for many women to do well in their fields. It is a perception that still exists today.

Many women feel they need to work twice as hard to prove their worth. When in fact women’s contribution is enormous: they get the work done without fanfare. One manager commented how her male seniors were unable to handle it when she stood up for what her team had achieved. Consequently she had to endure many jibes afterwards.


What is wonderful to witness with this group of women is how they know their own worth and value. Many of them observe the games of their male counterparts. However, they consciously step away from engaging in these. None of them felt the need to justify themselves. They are at work to deliver and that is what they do.

If you feel your work-life balance is affected by your strong commitment to work, make time to seek help.

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Posted in Women, Work-life balance.