Why the need for more women in positions of influence
I have witnessed on more than one occasion the need for more women in positions of influence to address the issues affecting equal opportunity and gender pay gaps. There is a danger of having only one woman in a position of influence. In many cases, this woman becomes the one standard for excellence based on a level of comfort for those defining the ideal. This ideal comes with the price of only small percentages of women being able to sit at the table of influence with the decision making power to make the world more diversely inclusive.
The small percentages of women in high-powered positions are listed below:
- They are only 14.6 percent of executive officers,
- 8.1 percent of top earners
- 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
- They hold just 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.
However, there is promise to increase these percentages with “2020 Women on Boards a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.” More on this national campaign
This national campaign is a great call to action to address increasing percentages of women on boards.
In addition, here I would like to discuss reasons why there is a need for more women in positions of influence.
Ending The Fierce Table Wars between Women
There are very few women seated at the table of influence and when more than woman is present often a tug of war arises on who is best suited to speak.
A friend of mine was shadowing a female counterpart who was the president of an employee resource organization. My friend eventually decides to run for the open position of president against her female counterpart in an upcoming election. Prior to this decision, the relationship between the two is very nurturing. Suddenly, the relationship is strained. The former president feels threatened and thinks this influential opportunity is one of the few available to women. The presidency affords you the opportunity to sit at the table with top executives and influencers in the company. Overall, when an executive opportunity is smaller for women the table wars for the one seat of influence becomes more intensive.
The Success of One Woman to the discredit of another
I was once in an engineering group as the only female engineer at one point. Eventually, another female engineer begins to work in the group. Once the new female engineer starts working in the group, I became the outsider and repeatedly treated as if my opinions no longer matter. My opportunity for growth diminishes to bare minimum while the new female engineer often receives professional development and leadership training. I eventually leave the group and decide to seek professional development training on my own. Overall, this situation fosters the mindset that only one female can be promoted and its time to change this dynamic of discrediting another woman of influence to do so.
Encouragement for Young Women to See a Future of Potential
More women in positions of influence inspire young women on the possibility of success against all odds. A woman of influence who can share wisdom and tools on how to navigate through life and career decisions through experience is priceless. The challenges career women face is a serious concern and answers must come from diverse perspectives that include the voices of various women. Young women will need a need a more equal set of female and male mentors of influence to have a well-rounded perspective for career growth.
Variety the Spice of Women in Leadership Life
Women from different ethnicities and backgrounds in leadership roles will provide the global mindset needed to change policies that hinder equal opportunity and gender pay gaps. The variety of leadership roles for these women will help to shape an inclusive environment. Women around the world face difficulties that vary from country to country; in order to solve these problems it is best to listen diverse perspectives of women experiencing it first hand.
Overall, let the voices of more women of influence be heard without diminishing the wealth of its authenticity, knowledge and skill sets.