Being actively involved in student leadership as a high school student, there are a number of things I have noticed and learned. The recurring trend that seems to pop up everywhere is the serious imbalance between genders in those leadership positions. My experiences include being the only female class officer, the only female class president, and the only female JSA SoCal Senator.
This isn’t just limited to high school and this trend remains constant. Despite the fact that women make up half of the world’s population, they only make up only a small fraction of leadership positions politically, in businesses, and in other professions.
Women earn about 60% of undergraduate degrees, 60% of master’s degrees, 47% of law degrees, 48% of medical degrees, 37% of MBAs, and hold 52% of all professional-level jobs. However only 14.6% are executives, 5.2% are Fortune 500 CEOs, 12.4% are board directors, 15.9% are medical school deans, 13% are members of parliament internationally, and only 22 are current world leaders.
Looking at the lack of female leaders seemingly suggests that this deficit is the result of men just being more competent; however this is certainly not the case and below are just a few reasons why this needs to change now.
All change starts somewhere.
The next generation of young girls needs female leaders to look up to and aspire to become. Having a role model is so influential on young children, as this is the time in their lives where they begin to dream of who they can become, which is heavily determined by who they see around them. I still remember from when I was in third grade I thought women couldn’t be president because all the ones I had studied were men. Even today most of the great leaders I look up to and admire are men. There are only few examples of women I look up to, and even fewer examples of women who were able to have success both at work and at home. Forget about a gender equality in leadership positions, it was only in the 1980s that there was an equal number of men and women in universities. Time has told us for centuries that women were strictly limited to being wives and mothers, never top executives. Having more females at these top leadership positions will finally prove and change the misconception that women cannot be successful professionals and leaders. Starting change now will eventually lead to an equal number of male and female leaders being the rule and not the exception, women leaders a norm not a minority.
In the United States alone, a majority of our leaders are men. It’s quite obvious that changing that demographic will lead to a flow of people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and ideas which is ultimately reflected in their leadership style and what they choose to advocate for. In addition an increase in diversity would increase the number of minds and means available to find innovative, creative solutions for the problems we face today.
For issues relevant to women.
It is so important that the issues being discussed today have a diverse representation of all demographics. This is even more true when it comes to women’s issues. It just doesn’t make sense that the decisions most pertaining to and most affecting women are being made by a group of mostly men. So whether it be women’s health, how sex-ed is taught, ending child marriage, or abortion, there is a long list of topics in discussion, that also extends beyond women’s issues, where women need to become part of the conversation.
And lastly, of course, because…