Posted by Meg Bear on October 23, 2009
Believe it or not I try to shy away from a feminist agenda with my blogging. Typically I only resort to it when I’m completely lost for material. This week, I couldn’t help but wonder what the world was up to when I found myself stumbling upon several items covering the topic.
So I put my dilemma out to my friends and everyone said I should give it a go. So here you are, what I’ve learned this week about Women and leadership.
Next, thanks to @LexyMartin for pointing to the Shriver Report that shows that today women are more than 50% of the workforce (up from 1/3 in 1967) and that in 2/3 of the families women are primary or co-breadwinners, in other words, we are not just working in larger numbers, we need to be working to make ends meet. The recession is making it more pronounced when 3/4 of the jobs lost since Dec 2007 have been by men. In addition women are getting equal (or better) opportunities when it comes to education.
Women receive 52 percent of high school diplomas, 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees and 50 percent of doctoral degrees and professional degrees.
Next, I read the McKinsey report on Centered Leadership where they had some excellent advice for professional women in leadership. I really loved the charter of this study
Women start careers in business and other professions with the same level of intelligence, education, and commitment as men. Yet comparatively few reach the top echelons.
This gap matters not only because the familiar glass ceiling is unfair, but also because the world has an increasingly urgent need for more leaders. All men and women with the brains, the desire, and the perseverance to lead should be encouraged to fulfill their potential and leave their mark.
The five broad dimensions they cover include
- Find your strengths and put them to work for you
- Manage your energy
- Positive framing, adopting a more constructive view of your world
- Expand your horizons, Gain the resilience to move ahead
- Connecting, identify who can help you and build stronger relationships
- Engaging — finding your voice, take risks, accept opportunities
And finally the October version of the Talent Management magazine has it’s cover article titled “It’s a man’s world” where they make the assertion that a “female friendly company” is more gender balanced, having, on average 52% women employees vs. 38% in a male dominated firm. It also suggests that you must deliberately fill the pipeline with women.
So where do I find myself as a result of all this reading?
Probably back where I started actually. I am inclined to tell my girls how lucky they are to be young now. That the opportunities for girls are greater today than ever before. I also think that it is up to those of us in the workforce today, to continue to re-define the stereotype of what it means to be a working woman, mother, etc.
I believe that those strong women who have made the leap from worker-bee to leader, from doer to thinker have done all women a service. I think that each of us have a responsibility to use our talents to the fullest, to continue to make progress for all women and to set new examples for the next generation about women in leadership.
Anything else is just complaining.
What do you think?