Need advice? Call: +353 1 6614677 or Contact Us

Evolutionary Strategies: Empowering Women in Project Management

19 Jun 2024
Evolutionary Strategies: Empowering Women in Project Management


Due to the culture of traditional project-based industries, project management is mainly a male-dominated profession. Women are underrepresented in this profession, which is due to masculine project practices and long working hours, which form a barrier keeping women out.  

The Rise of Women in Project Management

project management

In the mid of 90s, women started to enter the project management field and to be represented as team leaders in projects that were less complex and smaller than projects led by their male colleagues; especially, we started to see women in software development and computer science field, and we began to hear about women project managers who were primarily inside organisations or in special functions in projects.

It was considered that women could not meet the defined professional standards of project management. Still, over the years, the opposite was revealed, so women proved their ability to manage and lead projects toward completion and thus success regardless of the size and complexity of those projects and even surpassed men in some fields and succeeded more than them; this explain and prove the ability of women in doing project management activities such as team building, conflict resolution, team motivation and stakeholders engagement in a highly technical men dominated environment.

Here, the project management profession is evolving from a discipline based on technical basics to a focus on leadership, control, communication, interactions, and learning, which could correlate with the increasing acceptance of women in this field. 

The rise of women in project management in the ever-evolving world represents not only diversity and inclusion but innovation and creativity; where women are proving day after day their ability to innovate and create, and many countries are highlighting the role played by women who bring their ideas to excellence and creativity in the project management field. Despite these positive signs, we need more work to empower women in this field, so we seek to fully encourage their innovations because women have become an essential element in work around the world and leaders and pioneers in this field of progress, innovation, and ideas, especially those who wish to establish, develop, and manage projects. 

Current Statistics

Studies on women's involvement in project management are limited. However, the available data shows that women represent around 20% to 30% of project management professionals, and there is a lack of females in project management roles. Therefore, it is necessary to work on empowering women in this field. According to the International Labor Organization1, their global labour force participation rate is under 47% compared with 72% for men.  

Are Women Great Project Managers?

Regardless of the industry, women are still facing a lot of challenges in the project management field, from gender inequality and discrimination in recruitment to unequal growth of opportunities, which makes their project management profession's path full of blockages. For that, it is necessary to give women more chances to participate in projects and equal opportunities to ensure their leadership and abilities to manage and control project phases and progression. 

The inclusion of women in every project activity is vital and fair. It brings the strengths of women to project management and could lead to better business outcomes and drive changes. As it is known, women have more incredible strengths in some areas than men, and these strengths can be beneficial through their roles in project management.  

Communication is one of the essential skills for a successful project manager, and who is better than women to establish excellent communication with stakeholders, project teams and everyone involved in the project. Women can communicate better than men, and we can mention this strength in our daily lives, where it is easier to establish communication with women than with men. We find women more than men in many jobs that demand a high level of communication so that women project managers can communicate and build relationships with other managers, stakeholders, colleagues, teams and customers in projects across various industries. Moreover, women have a vital ability to access customers or clients more than men; many customers or end users prefer to talk to women rather than men and usually, the customers are more willing to listen to women and accept negative news smoothly or even good news relating to project progress when they are coming from women.  

Women, in their nature, are more organised than men and can manage many tasks simultaneously, making them better at team management than men. They have more sense of awareness to bring team members together and create an inclusive cooperation spirit among them. Many team members prefer to work with women project managers more than men. We can touch this in our daily work, where teams led by women are more productive than those led by men. For that, women project managers prove day after day that they are great leaders and motivators and put their best efforts to benefit their teams and organisations. Of course, when women have the chance to lead, they will lead with influence rather than authority. They will show their ability to manage conflict and make decisions daily according to their teams and projects. They appear to be more caring to their team members while still maintaining control across the team. These facts are shown in "The State of Women in Project Management, 2023" report, published by PMI2 on March 2023; this report indicates that women project managers are more powerful in essential skills than men project managers as the following:

Value of power skills by gender

Also, women leverage advanced technologies in project management more than men in organisations moving toward technology adoption to improve their outcomes.

women leverage advanced technologies

Also, this report provides us with some information about the situation of women in the field of project management versus men:  

women vs men in PM

However, there is still a gender gap for women in project management. This gap could form a significant opportunity for many women to enter the field of project management and improve their careers in one of the most rewarding and promising fields in the near future, regardless of the industry or the background of those women.  

So, more women in project management would be an excellent addition to any industry where it is better to create a balance of gender, experiences, views and insights that help to create a healthy work environment with better diversity and inclusion; moreover, industries and organisations need to put more efforts in hiring, retaining and promoting talents, including women who may not yet be considered enough. Communities should recognise the importance of women in leading projects and their positive impacts in this field.  


Finally, if you are a woman project manager or you plan to enter this growing field, be proud of yourself, never stop learning and shaping your skills, and always remember, "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, and you don't necessarily have to find someone who believes in your strengths and thoughts at the beginning of your career path, but you have to believe in your ideas and dreams and work on them in order to realise them." 

Reference Literature:

1. International Labour Organization. 2022. "The gender gap in employment: What's holding women back?"

2. PMI. 2023. "The State of Women in Project Management, 2023."