Women in Leadership: Keep Rising in the Face of Inequities
Women in Leadership,
When I read the anti-diversity memo released by a Google employee this past weekend, I was angered. He shared his views on why women are not equally represented in technology and leadership. Many of his reasons were sexist, and he even suggested that Google’s diversity programs should “de-emphasize empathy” moving forward. My anger turned to sadness when I read accounts of men who agreed with his point of view. Thankfully, many also disagree with him.
You may not know that I've spent over 15 years in the technology space. My first job out of college was with Accenture, the number one technology consulting firm in the world at the time. Although I double majored in business and economics, my first job required me to code for a year. I then moved into IT project management, marketing and leadership roles for technology-focused organizations.
It was a rarity back in 1999 for a leading, international company to have a female CIO.Little did I know then, there would be minimal progress in the rise of female leadership in the technology industry over the next 18 years.
When reading the Googler's memo, I couldn't help but think about the female engineers, product managers, designers, marketers and amazing contributors showing up to work the following Monday. What were they feeling and thinking? Were they angry? Were they scared that their male colleagues and friends secretly thought they were not qualified to be there or that they lacked some innate flaw that prevented women from excelling as leaders?
Women in Leadership: Insights to Inspire & Empower You
In my LinkedIn article, I asked the question - What if more women in leadership positions could create GREATER outcomes, products and solutions?
I found extraordinary answers to this question. We’re in an exciting time where organizations and investors are realizing the benefits of increased female inclusion at the highest levels, and the research proves it:
Companies where women are most strongly represented at board or top-management level are also the companies that perform the best. - McKinsey & Company Women Matter Study
Companies with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion and with women board members outperformed comparable businesses with all-male boards by 26% worldwide. - Credit Suisse Research Institute
Companies that prioritized innovation saw greater financial gains when women were part of the top leadership ranks. - University of Maryland and Columbia University based research
Having more women board directors correlates with higher return on sales, better stock growth, and lower risk of insolvency. - Catalyst Information Center report, Why Diversity Matters
And yet, we still have a long way to go to ensure more leadership teams, boards and investors are fully represented by women.
More Work to Be Done: Real Challenges Facing Women in the Workplace
McKinsey & Company andLeanIn.org partnered together to outline research findings in the Women in Workplace 2016 report. The report speaks to the real challenges that women and corporations face in advancing female leaders:
"On average, women are promoted and hired at lower rates than men, so far fewer women become senior leaders.
Women of color [20% of the population] are the most underrepresented group in the corporate pipeline, lagging behind white men, men of color, and white women.
Women who negotiate [salaries] are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are "intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy,” and they’re also 67% more likely than women who don’t negotiate to receive the same negative feedback. "
I encourage you to download the Women In Workplace 2016 report and read additional findings. There are many positive statistics, as well, and much room for hope. Change first begins with awareness.
Regarding Google and the divisive memo, Danielle Brown, Google vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, gave an inspiring response:
“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”
The employee who wrote the memo has since been fired.
My hope is that the women of Google, women in leadership and women everywhere pursuing career dreams will continue to charge forward in the face of inequities. Because I know the extraordinary power of women, I know we will continue to rise.
Our success depends on women uniting and the male and female leaders focused on diversity, inclusion and gender equality.
Rising with you,
Now your turn: Have you experienced sexism in the workplace or situations where you thought others treated you unfairly? If so, you're certainly not alone.
I'd love to hear about your experience(s) and I know other women would like to hear them, too. When we're not alone in our experiences, then we can unite and rise together.
Were you able to rise above the unfairness and create an even greater opportunity for yourself? If so, definitely share your message of hope.
Comment below this article or send me an email with a note describing your situation. Thank you.
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I’m Jennifer Spaulding, a leadership coach and speaker, dedicated to helping women get what they want professionally and personally. Whether you're seeking additional career success, more influence or better relationships, I provide coaching, tools and insights to help you reach your goals more quickly. Click below to schedule a complimentary strategy consultation with me.