According to the 2016 Fortune 500 list, only 4.2% of CEOs are woman in Americas largest 500 companies.
I just entered “Corporate America”, a Fortune 500 company. I am the only female on my team. Our Directors called for a department wide meeting. It was then, looking around the room, that I noticed woman are a minority when it comes to leadership roles in my department. Upon further digging, I found out this is also the case all the way up the ladder for my entire company.
I have many career ambitions. And one thing I can’t help but think is, when it comes to promotions, will my equal men counterparts be considered before me? I do not think anyone would ever do this consciously. But, on some sub-conscious level, do we see men as more capable of responsibility and leadership?
It would only make sense that we do. Take a look at our long history of Presidents. Take a look at politics, in general. Heck, take a look at the Fortune 500 CEO list.
When looking for someone to lead or manage others, on some level we are looking for safety just as much as we are looking for capability? Men make us feel “safe”. Is it because they are physically more capable? Is it because society tells them to act tough? And, when determining who to promote, how often is the one making the decision a man himself? There is some subconscious bias towards ones own gender. Also, completely understandable. We see a similar thing with nationality and ethnicity.
It is because of the reasons I’ve mentioned that I do not think this will change over night, or this decade really. I think the change begins with how we choose to raise our girls and boys.
I do not have children. But when I do, I will treat my daughter and son equally. I will let them know they are equally as capable of all they wish to achieve. Our bodies are different, and they are beautiful differences. But, our intellectual capabilities are the same.
It’s time we started acting like it.
(Maybe someday) Mrs. CEO