Women in the corporate workplace have had lots of press lately. First, the September issue of Fortune magazine with its list of the 50 most powerful women. Then came the report by Lean In and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2015, and Sheryl Sandberg’s summary of the report in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a mixed bag of positive and negative. Let’s take the “glass half full” view and celebrate 50 incredibly powerful women.
Is one reason that women aren’t proportionally represented at the leadership level in business because they lack the ambition or interest in power to be there? This question was debated a decade ago. Some women have ambition and want power in the masculine way. Other women simply define these terms differently. Typical female behaviors of avoiding taking credit or tooting her own horn mask ambition. Women who do appear ambitious are often caught in the “double bind.” To achieve gender diversity in leadership, we must broaden our definitions of “power” and “ambition.”