Monday, December 6, 2010


Today women are entering the workforce and earning college and advanced degrees in numbers equal to or surpassing men. But women still are not advancing into leadership positions as fast as men.

Women hold less than a quarter of the leadership positions in nearly all industries. Women of color fare even worse: Of the 15.7% of corporate officer positions in Fortune 500 companies that women hold, women of color hold just 1.7%.

Part of the reason is due to longstanding discrimination and cultural biases. Part is because some women “off-ramp” to raise their children or care for family members.

But part of the problem also stems from the fact that many women are uncomfortable with the 21st century taboos: power, ambition, money and failure.

As a result, many women manage their careers differently from their male colleagues.

Having risen to senior management early in my personal career before the age of 30, I was already a VP in a tier one bank, I knew then women were not equally represented in leadership and throughout my career over 25 plus years, I have yet to be on a client working team, or a leadership team with 50/50 male/female representation also balanced with cultural /and ethnic diversity

We have come a long way, but we still have a long ways to go, if we are to ensure the collective talent we have mirror's the customer/consumer landscape.

With over 80% of all consumer purchasing decisions being controlled by women, from houses, to cars, to clothes, and toys - women control the decision purse strings in families throughout North America.

Women know what women want and do not need additional filters to interpret their needs. After all there was a book written Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, offers insight to explain some of the differences that we know of. Dr. Barbara Anis's research on leadership and gender differences, also reaffirms that for organizations to compete more effectively (in other words design and develop solutions to attract more women to purchase), that innovation and growth is healthier with a stronger and more diverse workforce.

So take a look at your board level representation, your leadership representation, and ask yourself - Are we reflective of our customer market or not?

1 comment:

Stu said...

In my field I am definitely noticing a stronger female presence now than ever before - and not before time!!

Stewart Higgins
Intranet Expert
Intranet Software

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