Based on a newly published Pew Research Center study, there are contradictions concerning women and leadership. Most Americans believe that women are just as capable as men in the political and corporate realms, and many believe women even surpass men when comparing the tendency to lead with compassion and organization. Nonetheless, women are still lacking at the top leadership level of government and business: While about twice as many women are in Congress today as 20 years ago, this still only amounts to 19%. The realm of top business is even more imbalanced: Only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
What’s more, some may be perceiving the problem entirely the wrong way. One-in-five say women’s family responsibilities are why females are lacking in the top tiers of business and politics. However, about twice as many say there is a double standard being dealt with: Women looking to ascend the professional ladder are expected to do more work to “prove themselves” to be considered equally equipped as men to do the same job.
In the study, most people attributed the underrepresentation of women in leadership to the fact that “electorate and corporate America are just not ready to put more women in top leadership positions.” Cultural and societal stereotypes underlie this statement, and this is exactly the kind of message that 1girl contests.
If people “aren’t ready” to accept women as equally skilled leaders in 2015, when will they be? When society partakes in this mindset, females are excluded from top management positions at no fault of their own. Also, our world suffers—when in fact, the world needs good leaders, regardless of gender. Additionally, when women are underrepresented in business and politics, their views and ideas are not being accounted for, perpetuating the problem.
When our society doesn’t believe in the capabilities of women, they will come to believe that they are somehow lacking something they need to succeed. Overcoming these stereotypes is imperative for our youth. These sort of double standard may indicate to girls that achieving any type of leadership position is unattainable. Also, because of the current lack of female leaders, these young girls will have few, if any, female mentors with experience in these upper levels of leadership. So, instilling a sense of optimism and confidence in today’s female youth is vital to help these girls succeed.
1girl works to shatter the glass ceiling in today’s workplace that keeps women from top jobs. We work to equip girls with skills-based leadership development that will increase their confidence and help them succeed in their education and future careers. However, our mindsets need to do a 360 first, or else the glass ceiling will remain unbroken; women will still be perceived as less capable when doing the exact same job.
What can be done about breaking these barriers? What progress do you think we can make in the next year, 5 years, or 10 years? Please comment below to join the conversation, or share this blog post to help raise awareness of this persisting problem and our hopes to solve it.