by Shawn Andrews
Originally published: March 1, 2017
What the talent development function can do to prepare, promote, and develop women in leadership.
In the business world, women leaders are still a minority. This statement comes as no surprise to most of us nowadays, but what is surprising is that men outpace women in leadership roles across every sector in the world—corporate, not-for-profit, government, education, medicine, military, and religion.
During the past three decades, women have achieved parity with men in both number of employees in the workforce and positions in middle management. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women now comprise 57 percent of the total U.S. job market and 52 percent of all management and professional occupations. In education, women represent 60 percent of bachelor's degrees in Europe and the United States, according to Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union; and the Department of Labor found that women outpace men in the total number of master's and doctoral degrees. Yet, at Fortune 500 companies, Catalyst reports that women hold only 19 percent of board seats and 15 percent of executive officer positions, and the number of female CEOs is a paltry 4 percent. Given these statistics, it is clear to see that organizations are not leveraging their global talent.
Even though women equal men in the number of employees at entry-level and middle management, and exceed them in education, this has not translated to leadership. For those of you who aren't quick at calculations, 4 percent of 500 companies equals 20 female CEOs. That means there are 480 male CEOs running the remaining Fortune 500 companies. When you look at it from that perspective, women have a long way to go. The role of women in today's global organizations—and the development of tomorrow's leaders—is arguably the most pressing talent development issue we face.
In my doctoral dissertation—and soon-to-be-released book—I studied the intersection of leadership, gender, and emotional intelligence. Specifically, I examined leadership styles and emotional intelligence from a gendered perspective, researched the barriers that keep women from advancing to senior leadership, and provided strategies for both individuals and organizations. What follows are some of those insights.