How do Women Rank in Leadership Today?

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

Unfortunately, the statistics don’t show much progress. Of 197 Heads of State, only 22 are women. They hold just 20% of parliament seats globally, and only 18 are Fortune 500 CEOs — and 38% of female CEOs who left their jobs over the past ten years were forced out compared to 27% of male CEOs. Warren Buffet says that one of the reasons he has been so successful as an investor is that he “only had to compete with half the population.” Thirty years after women achieved 50% of USA college degrees, men still dominate leadership positions in government and industry.

Why Aren’t More Women In Leadership Roles?

ROI wanted to know “why?” so we conducted a LinkedIn Poll to get some answers. The results were surprising: While 23% of respondents selected “Fair Wages vs. Men” and 26% chose “Discrimination (Of Any Kind),” a full 35% said they thought “Meaningful Mentoring from Other Women” is the biggest single challenge working women face today.

So what’s keeping women from becoming leaders? Who are their role models? And how do women make a difference in their careers? Unfortunately, “Meaningful Mentoring from Other Women,” while a desirable behavior, obviously isn’t happening in the workplace. In Dr. Peggy Drexler’s article, “The Tyranny of The Queen Bee” she says, “women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood.A 2011 survey of 1,000 working women by the AMA found that 95% believed “another woman at some point in their careers undermined them.”

How To Change The Statistics

So, if successful businesswomen won’t (or can’t) mentor other, often younger and less experienced women, where does an aspiring female executive go for coaching? Outside executive coaches can be helpful. Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In suggests seeking out “Community, Education and Circles” to do so – such as organizations like NAPW– or even create networking groups to stay connected. We like the “Women in the Boardroom” initiative out of New York City and what they are doing to develop leaders. Sandberg says, “Women underestimate their own capabilities and don’t negotiate well for themselves.” Her message: 1) Get a seat at the table, 2) Make your partner a real partner – at home and at work, and 3) Don’t leave before you leave: “don’t plan your career on life choices like starting a family too early and take yourself out of contention for a top position.”

If women want the corner office, there may be some unconventional approaches to secure career advancement to get there.

So what’s in the Mighty Middle Market for me? — get it right now at

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