Blog: The Race is On for Women in Leadership

Brittany Hink

Monday morning water cooler talk: chitchat that can focus on weekend activities, vacations to follow and even current events in the news. People always advise to leave two things out of the office: religion and politics. Somehow politics can always find a way to creep back in. For the next few months, water cooler talk will continue to trickle back to the presidential race. Both the right and left sides are watching every move and listening to debates and interviews for each of the potential presidential candidates.
One topic that remains to stand out for many Americans continues to be the gender gap. Are having two women in the race a game changer for America? Or, on the other hand, is it a harsh reminder that women remain to be seen unequal with men for leadership positions? In corporate America, the same gender gap is showing up from office to office. According to the United States Department of Labor, on average, American women earn 78 cents per every dollar earned by males within a similar job. Performing the same duties and yielding the same results, but still making less.

Why are women still making less than men are?
This is an age-old question. In April 2015, Catalyst reported that females hold 23 of the 500 Chief Executive Officer positions at S&P 500 companies. That is around 4.6 percent. For some, this percentage is hopeful for the changes in leadership positions to come. For others, this is a sign of how "behind the times" corporate organizations remain. More women are continuing their education with undergraduate degrees and enrolling in master programs, however; the education factor does not seem to be making a difference for pay increases and job promotions in many cases.
Females are considered to be only nurturing and compassionate individuals. However, women often give insights on business challenges and opportunities that have been previously overlooked by male counterparts and yet they are still considered incompetent in many work environments. Many countries have passed laws for equal rights in the workplace for both men and women. However, there are still countries all over the world that women continue to fight a tough gender battle. Many cannot go to school; others cannot work at all and must stay home to care for the family and house. Due to these global issues, does this affect leadership roles within the United States and how women are viewed in the workplace?
Can we have a female President?
The question comes back to the water cooler discussions. With two females in the race and a strong support for both, will this be the future? In a world where women are still fighting for gender equality and foreign nations dismiss the thought of female workforce leaders. In a society where some of the most successful corporations still have a male dominate leadership team and women delay starting a family to put up a fight to climb corporate ladders. Are we ready for a female Commander in Chief? Is the world ready for the first female President? Or, are will still waiting for corporate America to catch up?
Do you have any stories to share? I would love to hear your thoughts on gender gaps!

Catalyst. Women CEOs of the S&P 500. New York: Catalyst, April 3, 2015.