As I attended yet another women’s networking group, I just had to ask myself, are we talking in the mirror? This is a question worth pondering as women continue to meet in affinity groups to strategize and support each other seeking career advancement. I think we need to ensure we make the strategy complete by being inclusive of our male counterparts as well.
When we continue this pattern and don’t include male sponsors and mentors in the conversation on the larger scale we really are talking in the mirror.
Really, are we looking for a magical mirror that reflects what we want to hear, or like Snow White’s mirror, actually gives us an answer that appeals to us? Just saying, while I thoroughly enjoy the sisterhood and appreciate the power in our unity (heck I went to an all woman’s undergraduate college), I also know that any career moves of any consequence happened for me through male sponsors. where the power rests.
Today’s research confirms that women lag in making significant progress into the Executive and C suite.
- Only 14.6% of executive officers in Fortune 500 companies are women; [the remaining % =men]
- Only 8.1% of top salary earners in Fortune 500 companies are women; [Wonder who earns the rest?]
- Only 4.6% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are women; and [Any guesses here?]
- Only 16.9% of Fortune 500 board seats are occupied by women. [Ditto?]
While women earn 60% of undergraduate and graduate degrees:
- Women in the legal field make up 45.4% of the legal associates, but only 25% are non-equity partners and only 15% are equity partners.
- Workers in the health care and social assistance fields are 78.4% women, but only 14.6% of executive officers in the same female-dominated field.
- Only 34.3% of all physicians and surgeons are women.
- Only 9% of management positions in the information technology field are held by women.
We can deduce that if women aren’t in equal partnerships or earning equal wages that the ones we need to be talking with in volume and in public forums are our male colleagues who generally speaking are running the show! Bottom line, the rest of the percentages are credited to them!
So talk in the mirror if we must to gain confidence, practice executive presence and so on….but our voices need to be heard and we still need visibility. We need allies and sponsors.