A record number of women are leading Fortune 500 companies thanks to the recent appointment of Linda Rendle as Clorox’s CEO. What is the record? A paltry 38. It’s less than 8% of all the chief officers, all of them white. Overall, women are less than 20% of the C-suite officers in the 500 companies, even though women comprise nearly half of the workforce.

The female gap in government was really brought home to me during the Hillary series. Before a record-breaking 1991 election that resulted in a whopping total of four female Senators, there had never been more than two at a time. In the 244 years of our democracy, only 57 women have served in the role – with 26 of them serving now, and 11 being elected since 2017.

Even more astonishing to me, women did not have a restroom off the Senate floor until 1993, literally 200 years after the Capitol was constructed. Female House representatives had it even worse, with no facilities off the House floor until 2011, causing them to be out of range for announcements about upcoming votes.

We’ve got to do better. Take a hard look at your organization and your community and find a way to elevate some new voices. Tap someone on the shoulder to encourage them. Create programs to advance emerging leaders from multiple constituencies. Survey your building and ensure it meets the needs of different groups (e.g. lactation room, prayer space, etc.)

There are many talented, kindhearted and dedicated men out there, but they are not the only ones who can lead. Representation – and restrooms – matter.

a Latina woman and Black woman

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: