Women in Leadership

I read an article in the Star Ledger last week (Thursday, Feb. 22) titled “Ms.-Fortune for women in leadership: Slip from long-term trend; state’s top ranks suffer loss”.

The trend I read about in the article regarding the decreasing number of women at top leadership positions is disappointing. Although this wasn’t something that I ever wanted, I know many powerful and bright corporate women who could fill corporate officer and board director positions. Fact is, we even have our first women (a mother!!) running for the Presidency and a somewhat slow growing number of women in government leadership positions at the local, state, and national levels.

However, in the Fortune 500 companies the numbers of women in officer positions shrank from 16.4 % in 2005 to 15.6 % in 2006. And, where I live (NJ), we can no longer claim a single one of the 23 women CEOs in the Fortune 1000 since Lucent’s Patricia Russo transferred to Paris to retain her job with France’s Alcatel when the companies merged.

My experience working with women in the highest leadership positions reveals the ambivalence these women sometimes face between wanting to climb the corporate ladder and wanting to be with their kids more. The demands of higher level positions are usually heavy and difficult for those with a family. Many of the women in the highest leadership positions have partners who stay home with the kids and/or full-time live-in nannies who handle much of the childcare and household responsibilities.

Women are the ones who have the kids and are genetically set to do most of the nurturing. Women leaders tend to make many sacrifices. “Work/life balance is a big challenge; we are the ones who have the kids, and that’s not going to change. Corporate careers are complex and women have a lot of choices, and that’s a good thing; if we want more women to stay we have to signal to them that we value them and want to help them.” according to Jennifer Allyn, managing director for gender, retention and advancement at Price Waterhouse Cooper, (one of the award winners where 3 of the top 17 top executives or 18% are women and are 16% of the 2,000 partners.)

More and more women are opting out of corporate America and starting their own business where they can set their own path and achieve more of what they want when they want it!

I’m curious, what are your thoughts about the decline in top leadership positions by women? Would this be something you’d want? Email me to share your views.


Coach Natalie Gahrmann

About The PriorityPro
Natalie Gahrmann, an international expert, empowers professional women to ignite their passion, demonstrate personal leadership and exude greater confidence. Her background in business acumen and leadership development is instinctively applied through 1-1 coaching, workshops and keynote presentations. She can help you gain clarity, focus and direction so that you accomplish more of what's important to YOU!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!