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Women’s Leadership Numbers and Why We Need More

Strengthening women's leadership

These days we are seeing more and more women take the reins in the worlds of business, law, and politics. While women have made significant strides towards equality with men over the past century, though, considerable challenges still remain. The lack of women’s leadership positions held today is a symptom of this inequality.

Women’s Leadership Numbers are Far From Equal

Despite years of advancement, women still made up only 12% of board members in 2015 and remain significantly low in number among the world’s national leaders. For every Marissa Mayer and Jacinda Ardern, there are millions of women who are missing out on leadership opportunities.

“We have a problem with women in leadership across the board. This leadership gap – this problem of not enough women in leadership – is running really deep and it’s in every industry.”

– Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In

What Factors contribute to Low Numbers of Women in Top Roles?

Firstly, many women struggle to succeed in certain environments due to gender bias, discrimination, and negative stereotyping. Another major factor hindering women’s leadership success is the “motherhood penalty.”

Women may have difficulty gaining employment, getting promoted, or obtaining a higher salary when they have a family. Another key barrier for women in leadership is a lack of role models to motivate and inspire future generations of females.

Women leaders Infographic
Infographic courtesy of Trainwest.

Why is Having More Female Leaders Important?

Having women’s leadership in an organization benefits everyone. Women introduce a diversity of leadership and communication styles and can lend a fresh perspective on issues.

Furthermore, a greater number of women leaders has been shown to contribute to higher profitability, a healthy national economy, and public policy innovation. It’s clear that having more women in leadership benefits everyone.

If you want to learn more about the subject of women’s leadership, including gender bias, check out the compelling infographic above from the team at Trainwest.


Top photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

49 thoughts on “Women’s Leadership Numbers and Why We Need More”

  1. Excellent content! This is something that I feel very passionate about and I’m happy to see others participating in the conversation. I believe that a large part of this, as you mentioned in discussing unconscious bias and stereotyping, is that there is a social cost for women who exude confidence and negotiate in the same way that a successful man would. Behaving as a leader is too often perceived as behaving as a b*** or being bossy, and that stigma needs to be squashed. The more self aware we become the more progress we will make! Keep doing what you’re doing and discussing the issues. :) .

    1. Oh you’re so right about strong women being labeled the “b” word ~ And the double standard as men don’t often get this reputation for being aggressive. I thank you for the supportive words here about the posts too!

    1. Do you mind my asking what country you’re in? I understand that cultural expectations are a big factor in other countries too.

    2. Saudi Arabia and I should mention that these days there are huge changes in Saudi Arabia to support Saudi women❤️ soon we will get equal rights to men.
      SO PROUD

  2. Some interesting information and statistics here, Christy. The problem with remediating this through legislation is that you end up with an inferior product often. It takes away freedom of choice and a company’s ability to chose the best candidate. This can be disastrous.

    1. Good point about the potential for an inferior product, Robbie. That would not be good.

  3. What a great post and infographic. Many strides have been made, but there is still more progress to be made. And when an assertive woman tries to speak her mind, I’ve found that they are viewed more negatively. However, if a white male does the same, he’s a leader. It’s interesting the gender differences that still go on. On a really good note, however, the prime minister of New Zealand is a woman who also just had a baby, while in power! So…progress is being made. :)

    1. I love how you state the reality and then move onto the positive point about New Zealand :) You’re an optimist at heart! It’s one of the things I love most about you xo

    1. We’ll keep supporting those women – and we’ll do our best to do the same!! Thanks Debby xo

  4. women are starting to rise up, in the working community which is good, Hillary Clinton is a good example for me, for braking the barrier of women running for president, as women we need to start supporting one another, which can go along way.

    1. Excellent that you have strong female role models – That’s a great way to keep motivated and encouraged :)

  5. Thank you, Christy, for sharing this informative article. After working in biotech corporation for 25 years, my experience is the upper executives typically want a stereotypical male leader who is straight-talking, aggressive and decisive deal-makers. Typically, other type of management styles that promote the ability to foster people’s strengths and creativity, and build effective teams are not valued. And the ability to play politics has a lot to do whether someone rises or not. There has to be a cultural change in which there is a longer-term vision of building a company with diversity rather than the short-term vision of making a short-term profit, no matter the cost to employees.

    1. There really is a lot of politics, whether it’s readily apparent or not, within most big organizations, at least at the top. Your experiences that you share here help drive the point home that there is work to be done within organizational structure to level the field gender-wise. Thanks Linnea for the astute comment.

  6. John Fioravanti

    During my 35-year secondary school teaching career, I shared my view that because men and women are profoundly different in many ways, they each bring different things to the problem-solving table. To exclude one group is to cripple the problem-solving process. It is the major reason, I believe why we have profound social problems in our western societies in a day and age when such problems should have been banished to the ashes of history. If we truly want peace, a gentler, more loving society, we need the leadership of both genders. So let it be written. So let it be done.

    1. Your words here are beautiful, John. Thank you for sharing here your vision of working together. Yes, we all have our unique skill sets to contribute and as a cohesive unit we can achieve so much. I wish you a wonderful rest of your Friday!

  7. The urge to procreate, especially as a woman reaches her thirties and realises that her fertility is limited, is very strong. Once a baby appears on the scene, a mother bonds with it very quickly and many mothers prefer to juggle part time work with looking after their children rather than feeling guilty for pursuing a career and leaving their children with a childminder all day. Of course there are exceptions, but usually women are happier doing part time work if it means they are the primary caregiver and can take their kids to school and pick them up instead of somebody else doing it. This is especially important if they are a single parent. In two-parent families the man usually earns more, and therefore this further encourages part time work for a woman, whose first responsibility is more often than not to her children rather than to any job. Children are often ill as they build their immune systems, and mothers often have to take time off to look after them unless they have somebody in the family on permanent standby or earn enough to employ a nanny. Until men give birth to babies, these issues will always hinder women in becoming leaders.

    1. Stevie, you make many intriguing points here! The guilt many mothers feel when they are working away from their child is something that comes up sometimes in comments here. There is so much on womens’ plates and it’s a lot to juggle. Thankfully many men I know are stepping up with meal prep, laundry, etc. This helps free up moms’ time a little. I see so many obstacles for female leaders and your comment makes me realize there are even more than I initially thought!

    2. You hold that baby in your arms and you don’t care about being a leader! However, men are very competitive and do care, and that’s why there’s so many male leaders…

  8. There’s also something about raising girls to believe that it’s OK to become leaders. I think there can often be an internal struggle with women about what they’re allowed to do, how much they’re allowed to achieve, who they’re allowed to be that can inhibit their progression to leadership positions. More female leaders would definitely help in this regard but there also needs to be a change in families so girls don’t grow up to believe they have to diminish themselves in order to be liked or that any power they have is only in relation to how they look. Thanks for this post, Christy, really thought-provoking.

    1. Julie, your comment is so thoughtful and I thank you for it. The emphasis on the appearance of females from the time we’re girls is something that the media is reinforcing and I’m so tired of it… I want more people to take a step back as you do and see we can make changes once we realize the gender-biased messages of society aren’t ones we have to go along with.

  9. Hi Christy,

    great message. We are all equal by birth, but it seems that society impose divisions!It’s up to us to accept them or to fight against them !

    1. You…are positive energy, and that’s why I adore you and WWI!
      I’m making a presentation to the Women’s Committee tomorrow. We’re wanting to get a private communications hub and forum going.
      I’ve put a lot of time into exploring options. Very excited!

    2. OHHHH! I’m just reading this comment now. Thank you ♥ And I hope your presentation to the committee went great. You’re amidst the waves of change, dear Resa. Keep swimming! xxoo

    1. It’s sad that gender equality doesn’t still exist. And the LGBT issues are another issue, yes.

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