I got weepy when Hillary Clinton locked up the nomination for president, not for political reasons but because it is historical. I celebrate what it says about the progress of women and what it does to our images of leadership.
Manpower Group commissioned research on “accelerating more women into leadership.” The report suggests that reaching “gender parity” will take time — and cultural change. It will take changing “entrenched male culture” to “gender neutral culture.” How can we do that?
McKinsey has concluded that it will take 25 years to reach “gender parity” at the senior VP level and more than 100 years to reach parity in the C-suite. Is “parity” realistic and attainable even in a century? I don’t think so. Even if we could magically eliminate all unconscious gender bias, other factors would make parity unlikely. There are key reasons other than bias – like free choice. I will continue to help eliminate bias so choice is truly free.
Yes, there is progress in seeing more women at leadership levels in business; but the pace remains glacial. We need to understand the reasons at the deepest level – so we can pick up the pace and capture the known benefits. I was invited to post a blog on the London School of Economics Business Review. I used the opportunity to express my thoughts on the root cause. I hope you’ll read it!
Unconscious gender bias doesn’t’ appear exclusively in the corporate world. As illustrated by a true story a friend recently told me, it resides in small business, too. Our unconscious (and gendered) images of leadership are everywhere. In a family business, a woman who had worked for years was passed over when the founder retired — by a much less experienced, but male, relative. How can we broaden our “pictures” of leadership?