Swan said female-owned businesses have different political and power structures to male-owned businesses. She added that generally female-owned companies have a greater focus on supporting employees, which is attractive to millennials.
“Millennials want shared power, equal voices, flexibility, integration, development and more say in their career,” she said. “So the issue of women in positions of power is not just how we get women into leadership but also how we move millennials forward as well.”
Swan added that female enterprises tend to have a “shared investment” in their employees’ careers due to their size being, on average, smaller than male-owned businesses.
She said: “Employers will then be interested in coaching employees because they are interested in making staff rise to their highest potential.”
Swan stressed the importance of ensuring women are in positions at all levels of a business. In this way, more junior women have “real models” to coach and inspire them.
“Women in the C-suite are role models but they are too far away from middle management or junior professionals, so you have to have women all the way through,” she said.
She added: “Young women need a role model in their line of sight so they can talk to them about what their challenges were getting to that job, how they balance working life, and how they can get to the next step.”
Swan also said that younger CEOs coming through should lead to more women at all levels in business, as younger CEOs generally have “different attitudes towards diversity”.