It is clear we have made lots of progress over the past decades in having more women at senior levels of business. In my lifetime, choices for working women have changed from pretty narrow (e.g., secretary, nurse, or teacher) to fairly wide open (senator, surgeon, CEO or Presidential candidate). I can declare the glass half full. I can also see how far we have to go on the journey to true equity – and declare it half empty.
I see evidence of both points of view every week. Last week, I had a conversation with my mentor who has led an organization designed to support women climbing the corporate ladder – and to help organizations value and achieve gender diversity. She declared “mission accomplished.” The issue is seen and others can move it forward. I’m less sure we can declare the journey over.
The week before I was visiting a church with a friend. There a man who had headed a committee made an announcement. He reported that his committee had recommended the start of a 2-year process that might result in having one or more women on the governing body of the church. He went on to say that he understood this was controversial and would be upsetting to some. I wanted to walk out – or shout out, “Did I just step in a time warp?” In 2016 they are just beginning to consider having women participate in leadership!!! In 2016 this is a new and controversial thought!!
And a few days ago a woman and I were chatting. She told me the story of a man (much younger than I) who expects his wife to work full time, provide at least half of the family’s financial support — and care for two children and do all of the cooking, cleaning and shopping. Where has this man been? Under a rock?
So where are we on the journey to having men and women lead as equals? In some areas, we are nearly there. In some, we continue to make progress. In others – well, there is a time warp. I choose to see the glass as half full. But only half. We have a ways to go!
What do you think?