Take a moment to think about all of the leaders in your life, your bosses, mentors, professors, etc. How many of those leaders were women? Most likely very few, right? Now, can you think of some women in senior positions?
You may have been having a hard time with that one. There are currently only 26 women serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies which is about 5%. The number of women occupying board seats of the largest and most well-known companies is only slightly better at 11%, and of the 2,500 participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos this January, which includes business leaders, heads of government, and members of government, only 17% were women.
Major Tech Companies and Their Leadership Diversity
So where do the top tech companies size up in all of this? Most of them have chosen to keep their internal diversity numbers behind closed doors for years, but they have been recently released and they’re not looking so diverse.
Women in Leadership Roles:
“I’m here to say tonight it’s time to step up and do more. It’s not good enough to say we value diversity and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full availability and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.” –Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, at CES in Las Vegas, 2015
Where are the Women?
Women make up more than half of the workforce today. They have also been outnumbering men in college enrollment and completion amounts since the 1990s and they are more likely to continue their education by attending graduate school. When it comes to management and leadership strategy, recent trends have even started to implement more ideas that require interpersonal skills such as teamwork and collaboration, which is something that women are often perceived to have more of than men. Women are just as capable as men when it comes to leadership skills and directing a boardroom, so what is happening when it comes to women holding senior positions?
So, What’s the Deal?
Although women are seen as just as influential and strong leaders as men, there are barriers that many agree are holding women back from the senior level positions. Four in ten Americans believe that for women that are trying to climb to higher positions in their industry, whether that be politics or the corporate ladder, there is a double standard in that they have to work harder than their male counterparts do in order to prove themselves.
“We tend to like those that are most like us. Sadly, company boards are still mostly men, and they’re more inclined to pull the trigger on women if things aren’t working out. Women are treated more harshly by men because there are more men in the boardroom. As long as this lasts, women will be at a disadvantage.” -Ken Favaro, co-Author of The 2013 Chief Executive Study: Women CEOs of the last 10 years
As Favaro says, this is unfortunately the truth about boardroom diversity and there are definitely still double standards for women within the workforce. Change needs to happen overall in order for us to see more women leaders and more women in senior positions. Only 44% of the American population believe that is only a matter of time before as many women are in top executive positions as men. I, personally, would love to see that statistic at 100%.