Women Leaders: Looking Into the Elephant’s Eyes

Great Article in Huff Post Business titled:

Women Leaders: Looking into the Elephant’s Eyes

(by Jim Finkelstein, co authored by Sheila Repeta)

There is an issue that has been looming on the horizon for a while now, it is the proverbial “elephant in the room” that everyone sees, but many do not want to discuss. It’s been a long enough time since we spotted the elephant. In fact it has been so long that some might believe it has safely left the room. What is this issue? It’s the “woman problem”. This problem is two-fold. First is the lack of visible female leaders in organizations both big and small organizations, and yes, even the government. Second is the discrepancy in pay between men and women performing the same work.

About 20 years ago, publications began declaring the “woman problem” was over. A highly publicized study released by Korn/Ferry declared the glass ceiling “cracked” for women. The study explained women were making their way into leadership in the corporate boardroom in high enough numbers that equity should be reached in the near future.

That was 1992, and here we are in 2015, and now more women than men are graduating from said business schools, but that “crack” in the ceiling has not broken and merely a steady drip of women are seeping through. A quick look at the numbers tells the sordid story. Women in CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies from the 1990s until now have gone from 0% to a pithy and unrepresentative 5.2 percent.

With a highly publicized presidential election around the corner and female candidates coming out of the woodwork, it may feel like significant progress has been made, but the actual numbers of women representatives in leadership tell a dismal story. A quick look at the numbers of women in key leadership and governance positions paints a clear picture of the lack of representation at the highest levels of leadership in America:
• U.S. Senate – 20% women
• U.S. House – 19.3% women
• State Legislatures – 24% women
• Women Governor’s – 10% women (on the downward trend – peaked at 18% around 2004)
• CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies – 5.2% women
• Executive Officers of Fortune 500 companies – 14.6% women
• Fortune 500 Board Members – 16.9% women.

So what do you believe the reasons are that are holding us back?  To see the full article


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