What is the Role of Women in Modern Society?

Women in today’s society have certainly gained power and influence when compared to the women of yesterday. Women today have easier access to positions of power carrying substantial decision-making authority and women’s success in attaining leadership positions speaks volumes. Having said that, there is still far to go until a complete balance between the genders is achieved. Moreover, there are still nations where women are excluded from positions of power as a result of gender stereotypes. Although it is fair to say that women, in the broadest sense have more freedom, this is not true in all cases because prejudice still remains. Even though phenomena of inequality have diminished, women do work harder and longer in order to remain on the same playing field as men. Multi-tasking, productivity, consistency, managerial skills and the ability to adapt to new situations are the main characteristics of working women and these lead us to climb the corporate ladder. Women are an integral part of today’s society, and we no longer lag behind men in most occupations. However, various studies provide evidence that there is a gender pay gap; women still earn less than men in many industries despite their professional achievements and working longer hours. Women are still treated as the stay-at-home parent and in many cases, it is viewed by their employers that motherhood will lower their productivity and commitment to work. I strongly believe that women’s inherent qualities allow for a full-time career and a family at the same time. Women over the last years have begun taking the reins in more and more companies worldwide and they have established their position as business leaders. Regarding shipping it is well known that it has historically been a male-dominated industry and that tradition runs long and deep. However, the achievements of women in the maritime industry, particularly in leadership roles, have been very well noted and the recruitment of more women has been encouraged. Despite the stereotypes, there is a growing number of professional women in the maritime industry. The position of women in our society cannot be generalised as throughout the world women receive differing amounts of respect. There has been a change but there is still room in evening the divide between the sexes.

Has the ongoing crisis in Greece affected the viability of businesses?

Since the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis, Greece has implemented a series of draconian austerity packages that led to impoverishment and loss of income and property. The Greek debt crisis has negatively affected the private sector. In fact, the last few years we have all witnessed the mass exodus of Greek entrepreneurs who opted to relocate their companies abroad, due to the current economic crisis looming over the Greek economy. Severe taxation, lack of adequate funding, bureaucracy, unstable economy, and the overall obsolete Greek legal system, far from being friendly to investments, are only some of the difficulties businesses established in Greece encounter. The difficulties are transformed into barriers for the start-up community, reducing the flexibility required and hampering foreign investment. Having this in mind the Greek government should lower social security costs to allow the companies to hire talented personnel reducing unemployment and generating more revenue faster. The solution for enterprises operating in or from Greece has been obvious for some time; reforms, less state expenditure, tax reduction and simplification of the investment procedures which can directly result in economic growth.

Do you think that innovative products are needed in 21st century enterprises?

Enterprises which act upon the opportunities and possibilities for change through innovation in the current volatile and uncertain business environment, will not only survive but they will successfully compete and even flourish in the fluctuating economic conditions. Innovation i.e. being able to come up with new ideas to keep operations, products and services fresh is one of the keys to any successful business. In our firm very soon, we realised that in the current day economic scenario, innovation has become a major factor which leads to success; out-of-the-box-thinking is important to generate new value and also sustain your business. At GMX innovation is at the center of our way of doing things, in our corporate functions, business models and processes. Law firms must learn to innovate to remain competitive, survive in the ever-changing marketplace and ensure that the client’s professional needs are met.

Do you believe that recognition of senior executives is achieved only through successful crisis management?

Crisis situations can erupt suddenly and without warning. Every crisis has the potential to significantly impact a company’s short and long-term reputation, daily operations, and financial performance if the situation is not handled properly. We have witnessed that in the current volatile business environment a crisis in the workplace is the rule in today’s business word, and a successful crisis management plan is important for the continuity of every company. Leadership skills are proven significantly important for the management of the company to handle a crisis. Successful leaders understand that a long-term solution requires the input and involvement of many stakeholders (employees, shareholders) and they work together with them to produce a viable solution for the company. Although not all crises can be prevented, the majority originate from within the organisation, thus a crisis management plan must be regarded as an investment rather than a cost. It must be treated as a strategic function that is embedded in the organisation’s corporate culture, driven from and by the top echelon, and implemented across all levels. A crisis puts to the test the decision-making skills of an organization’s management and employees. Crisis management is not only about the tactical reactive response when a crisis hits, but also about preparedness, anticipation and prevention.

For expert legal advice on maritime law in Malta contact you may contact Despoina Xynou directly.

This article was published in the Maritime Economies on Wednesday 21st February 2018.