According to CNBC reports on CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in America, only 33 of the companies on this list have women CEOs. While this number is low, it is an improvement on the numbers reported for the same last year which was 24.
Are these numbers low because there are very few qualified women to fill these positions? Probably not, however, we choose to focus on the progress we are making while discussing strategies to make more progress in a shorter time.
As a female professional and entrepreneur promoting women in leadership is something I care deeply about.
This article is focused on sharing on strategies to drive further change in 2020 and beyond.
Change Is Accelerated When Women Support Women – While there are many things that have happened to advance the course of women in recent years, different communities of women providing support for other women is a very strong force driving change. From communities of working mothers providing support to one another to communities of female entrepreneurs supporting one another on their journey. The list of these change agents keeps growing.
I spoke with two of these change agents for this article.
Gesche Haas Founder at Dreamers // Doers shared her experience with me “I spent many years working in finance and tech — two of the most male-dominated industries in the world — and experienced first hand the negative implications that come from being in the minority. For many women, that means having fewer allies, being judged and mentored differently than male peers, and even changing the way they view themselves. All of those factors have a negative compounding effect that affects our ability to succeed in business.” Haas decided to tackle this problem by starting Dreamers //Doers a private membership collective for female founders, trailblazers, and change-makers that is redefining how business is done. Her goal is to give women a competitive edge by surrounding them with supporters and collaborators who can help them succeed.
For Katya Libin Founder at Heymama, her story was different
Both change agents believe that this gender gap can only get narrower as awareness and support for the cause increase
Creating change is a collective effort – We are at a point where promoting equality and making progress is not something only women fight for. It is something everyone should advocate for regardless of gender. You may not be a woman but you might have a daughter, sister, mother, or niece that may be affected. Even if you do not have any female that could be affected, you have a conscience and can derive gratification for doing the right thing.
There Is A Need To Change ‘Normal’ – In the past, it may have been normal to look at the leadership structure of a company and only see one gender, this is no longer the case. Diversity is the new normal and will be essential to retain talent.
As we look forward to a new decade, it is important for everyone to realize that we can create change that generations to come will thank this generation for.