Unveiling Opportunities: Women Leadership in Emerging Markets

By: Ozge Sagiroglu, Head of Marketing & Distributor Excellence, Elekta | Monday, 18 March 2024

With over two decades of experience in MedTech and diagnostics, Ozge has cultivated her expertise across Europe and Emerging markets. Before her tenure at Elekta, she assumed diverse managerial roles at prominent organizations including Siemens, GE Healthcare, and Radiometer, a subsidiary of the Danaher Group.

Being a female in emerging markets seems so difficult if you have been born and grown up in a mature market due to limited opportunities, social norms, discouragement for education, restrictions, ignorance, and lots of similar issues. However, I always believe that challenges create opportunities, just as difficult customers improve the sales skills of a salesperson. Being a female leader in emerging markets started to be an opportunity in recent years. Nowadays, the power of female leaders has started to be realized and come into prominence in emerging markets, due to diversity and reference achievements of female leaders. Most of the companies, operating in emerging markets create initiatives to encourage female leaders to take leadership positions, which create more opportunities in both business life and personal life. Additionally, there is a great opportunity to improve and contribute to women leaders in emerging markets. There are lots of female groups and communities that encourage the improvement of education, and personal and professional development of females.

In most of the emerging countries, the expectation from the women was to manage more family-related responsibilities rather than working in external and corporate jobs. Despite there having been lots of improvements in diversity in recent years, still, we have male-dominated countries in terms of business and personal life. There is a trend for cultural and social changes recently due to increasing access to social media, increasing number of best practices for female leaders in business life, and some social responsibility projects in big corporate companies. This new trend encourages females to take leadership positions in emerging markets. Of course, still we have room for improvement… We need to deal with some barriers in business life and manage the perception and expectations of people… Still, we have women leaders who need to care family and kids, or we have some potential females who do not have sufficient education to exist in professional corporate life due to lack of support from their family or norms of their social environment. It is very unfortunate that still, we still see some companies that do not support females and trust female leaders.

We, as strong female leaders, first need to support the education of females in emerging countries and increase the number of well-educated females. Additionally, we should advocate the existence of female leaders in corporate life by pushing our companies to put diversity targets (like % of women leaders in the executive management teams or service teams or new hires) and to start some initiatives to make female leaders’ life easy (like flexible working hours, remote working, nursery school in a company facility, etc.). Companies should allocate some budget to establish women's networks and support them with psychological, personal improvement, and image branding activities like how to wear in corporate life or some activities to improve general culture.

Finally, the most important thing is to lead by example. We need to make female leaders more visible which will motivate most of the potential females.  As Ataturk, Founder and Great Leader of the Turkish Republic, said “Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women”.