Men dominate the corporate hierarchy. Here are a few reasons:
Women have babies and stay home to raise children, taking career breaks at crucial get-ahead times. Women hold “pink-collar” jobs — child care and early education, geriatric care, and maid service. More women work in charities and other nonprofits. More women work part-time. Women tend to start home-based businesses. Women aren’t in the “old boy” network. Women don’t sacrifice family time for after-work schmoozing.
There are exceptions to all generalizations, but all have truth, as pointed out at a recent Kansas City event supporting women’s appointment to corporate boards. Around the country such advocacy efforts are working to develop a pipeline of qualified women for top jobs and to expose existing power structures to interested candidates.
It’s simply good business to create management hierarchies and boards that reflect the consumer base. Unfortunately, those changes can seem excruciatingly slow. But, today, women outnumber men as college students and in many graduate schools. Women outnumber men in the workplace at large. Indeed, more women are in the executive pipeline.
Want to get in it? Here things that women can do to get themselves in that pipeline:
First and foremost, do a stupendous job at whatever it is you do. Duh.
Get a mentor to guide your career and an advocate to bring up your name. They’ll probably be men because that’s who still holds most of the power.
Go to association meetings, golf tournaments and events attended by the executives you aspire to be. Make friends. They need to like you.
Learn which headhunters deal in your industry or profession. Get your name in front of them.
Join women’s advocacy groups in your area. They can help you.