Are You Falling Prey to the Leadership Ambition Gap?

Thank you, Sheryl Sandberg, for being an inspiration and sharing your wisdom in your telling book Lean In. Sheryl is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

She writes: “The blunt truth is that men still run the world.” The statistics prove her point:

  • Of the 195 independent countries in the world, only 17 are Led by Women
  • Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally
  • A meager 23 of the Fortune 500 CEO’s are women
  • Women hold about 14% of executive officer positions, 17% of board seats, and constitute 18% of our elected congressional seats.  And these numbers have not moved much since 2002

So why is this? One of her thoughts based on the statistics and experience is the Leadership Ambition Gap.

There’s no doubt that women have the skills to lead in the workplace. Girls are increasingly outperforming boys in the classroom.  Of course, many individual woman are as professionally ambitious as any individual man. Yet drilling down, the data clearly  shows that in field after field, more men then women aspire to the most senior jobs.

She believes that FEAR is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure and Fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.

What do you think?

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