This month, the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers are looking at Women in Politics.  But, more
specifically, Women in Leadership.

What is leadership?  How does it apply to women?  If we were to take a pulse check, what grade would we give ourselves?

Let’s just look at the facts as we keep the conversation going –

One argument for women in leadership is the high value of emotional responses and ethical leadership

  • Pew Research Center tells us that we still have work to do. – the shift has come.  Women are seen as capable, but the barriers still exist.
  • About 4-in-10 Americans say there’s a double-standard for judging men and women for top jobs.
  • 34% of adults think that female politicians are better at working out compromises than their male counterparts. 
  • 34% of adults say women have an edge over men when it comes to being honest and ethical; 3% say men are better at it.

But, how does our nation look at it? (most facts come from a Pew Research Council article)

Hoping to See a Woman in the White House? Answer Depends More on Party Than Gender
  • Today women make up 19% of the Congress, about double the share from 20
    years ago. Progress has been slower on the corporate front.
  • Only 26 women are now serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies—roughly 5%. In 1995 there were none.  
  • As of 2013, about one-in-six board members of Fortune 500 companies (17%) were women, up from 10% in 1995.
  • Since the 1990s, women have outnumbered men in both college enrollment and college completion rates.
  • In 2013, over half of managerial and professional occupations in the U.S. (52.2%) were held by women. But, women continue to “lag” behind men in SENIOR leadership roles. 
  • The amount of women in the labor force is increasing and the young men entering the labor force is decreasing therefore shrinking the gap.  
  • Gaps in educational involvement for women have increased since the 90s and have continued to widen.  More women than men are getting an education. 

Straight numbers:

  • There are 20 women serving in the US Senate.
  • 84 women are serving in the US House of Representatives.  In addition, 4 women serve as non-voting delegates to Congress.
  • Women make up 22% of state Senate seats and almost 30% of state House of Representatives.
  • In 2014, female CEOs made up only 5% of Fortune 500 companies.
  • “In 2011, 26.4% of university presidents were women, almost triple the share in 1986.” (straight from The Data on Women Leaders)
  • The pay gap estimates show that women earn 16-to-19% less than men.

So, I walk away with a few things:

  • Numbers gather facts and tell stories.
  • Millennials are looking at everything different.  (I know, I’m so smart right…) Most likely because their Boomer parents challenged them to dream and think and be open.  They will change the world, hold on.
  • Motherhood is often tied to job lag.  Pursue a career early on and you will likely push back the time of having children.  Much if this is likely due to the fact that you will also push off getting married.  And, the world is torn on how they feel about this phenomenon.
  • Women are moving along, but we have a long way to go.
  • Women are the one more likely to take the career shift to take care of family and household issues.  But are more fulfilled by doing so.  
  • We still segment women and men into typical gender related careers.  While there are always the “invaders”, we still see women in retail, education and healthcare as a “default” career field.
  • Like anything, we need to overly embrace the good that comes with any new “segment” of leadership and be mindful of the downside.
  • I remain optimistic.  I think the tide will continue to change.  I think my generation will be the first to elect a female president and I think we will all be ok with it. 

I got many of the opening stats from this article by Pew Research Council and found even more here. Click the link and make the read!  And, if you wonder how we fare with the world, here are some thoughts.

And, because we are in Arkansas, who are some women doing it well?