My choice to focus on aspiring women leaders is two-fold. According to a recent report, although more women graduate with masters+ degrees and are managers, few women become senior leaders (i.e. CEOs, CFOs, etc. ). Women are almost half (47%) of the total work force in the U.S.; but only a fraction (4%) were CEO at Fortune 500 companies.* Women are also underrepresented in small business. Though more women start businesses, only 3 out of 10 get federal contracts.**
Women-owned businesses pump about $3 trillion into the economy. Yet it takes women business owners at least four tries before they are approved for a bank loan or lines of credit.
And, on average, it takes twenty-two attempts to get equity capital. Almost half of women business owners did not seek money in 2009.***
There is also another crisis looming. More women are leaving corporate America in favor of having more control of their lives.**** Whether that is building their own businesses or pursuing other interests.
This is a problem. In coming years, more executives will retire. Women make up almost half of the professional workforce and are getting advanced degrees faster than males. As more women leave, the number of qualified candidates decreases.
Even more so, it is important to keep women from leaving and train this talented group of professionals to run these companies. Only if one deals with the reasons why women are leaving and remove the barriers that prevent women from advancing.
My Personal Reason
On a more personal note, I grew up with three sisters with a dad who wanted to have a son and it showed. My dad grew up at a time when women were to perform all the duties of the home while the husband worked outside of the home. If women were to work outside the home, it was the traditional jobs (i.e. nurse, secretary). These jobs are essential and are honorable; but it was not my dream.
We butt heads many times as I had dreams of going into business and it was just hard for him to see that. But these experiences were not just limited to home.
Growing up, I observed double standards on women throughout church, school, television and in society. I could not understand why it was so and remember thinking how unfair.
Even now, I continue to observe double standards in respect to women. I see how double standards have caused women to second guess whether they can pull the job off.
I’ve seen women question whether they had the skills and abilities for a new position. I’ve seen where some women will not submit their resume for a new position because they don’t think they are qualified.
I remember my excitement when talking to my friends encouraging them to go for it and to see them excel when they did. This resonated with me and I found my passion in helping women to see themselves as qualified leaders and risk takers and to have a voice.
All are Welcome
Men are more than welcomed to work with me. A majority of the information can benefit men; but there are some areas that may resonate more with women.
Women – this is our time in history and we have to pursue our dreams and lead others to do the same. I believe that helping other women succeed in their careers is my calling.
*Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Women in U.S. Management and Labor Force. New York: Catalyst, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-us-management-and-labor-force
**U.S. Women Chamber of Commerce (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.uswcc.org/networks/ViewGroup.aspx?groupId=3
.***Center for Women’s Business Research: Women Impacting Public Policy (n.d.). Women Accessing Capital: Women, Money and Opportunity. Retrieved from http://www.womenaccessingcapital.com/about
****Cabrera, E. F. (2007). Opting out and opting in: Understanding the complexities of women’s career transitions. Career Development International, 12(3), 218-237