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.