Stroll into the average U.S. company and you'll find no shortage of women working. Women make up almost 47-percent of the country's workforce. Everyday, the faithful female worker-bees are busy making honey (money) for the company. But where you won't find them buzzing around much is in the C-Suite. That's the sacred realm reserved for Corporate America's top senior executives.
Again, women make up almost 47-percent of the U.S. workforce and 51-percent of the population.Yet only a paltry 14-percent of the country's top executives are female. And it gets worse. Of the S&P 500 CEO positions, women hold only 20 of them. Yes, you read it correctly; 20 out of 500. That's not even 5-percent!
It begs the questions: Why are women missing in action in the C-Suites and corporate boardrooms? What's got their wings clipped? How can we course-correct the female flight pattern leading to CEO status and ensure equity in business leadership?
It's not as though there isn't a bevy of brilliant women who possess the drive, desire and disposition to lead Fortune 500 companies. They've got the academic pedigree.
A study by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business shows women make up nearly 40-percent of MBA graduates.
And once in the work force they eventually make up 40-percent of managers. So why do so few get the keys to the C-Suite and occupy the ultimate seats of power?Consider these three realities:
1. Those who study the numbers say very few female middle-managers are in the pipeline to be groomed for top executive jobs. That pipeline is a critical training funnel needed to help women flow through the corporate system and rise to the top.
2. Industry mentors are good to advise, counsel and serve as a sounding board for would-be executives. But the experts say what's desperately needed are sponsors. A sponsor is someone with power who can cut through the corporate clutter while campaigning for a protege. They are more vested in strategically helping that person rise through the ranks and open the illusive door to the C-Suite.
3. And yes, in 2016 we are still fighting stereotypical views that women are simply not as good as men in top-level leadership positions. And that perception, perhaps to a small extent, may still guard the door to the "good ole boy" system.
Here's the irony: Gender equity in business leadership is very good for business. In fact, one study found that companies with more women in their C-Suites are more profitable. And when the data firm KPMG looked at women leadership, it concluded that,
"In a marketplace defined by complexity, disruption and change, today’s most successful enterprises are those that bring diverse perspectives and experiences to each new challenge. "
"Along with being the right thing to do, diversity and inclusion offer a strategic advantage – especially at the leadership level."
Many ambitious women leaders are drenched with talent and the drive to climb higher. When they are left to languish in the quagmire of middle management nobody wins.
If given the proper training, guidance and support that's routinely and systematically afforded male corporate climbers, these women can excel just as well as their male counterparts.
When that happens, it will finally fling open the gilded gates of the C-Suite to substantially more women leaders.
And with that, everybody wins.
Sharon Frame: LeadHERship™Communicator I would love to connect with you and hear your thoughts! Phone: 678 602-2899 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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