I came across an article the other day titled “What Amazing Bosses Do.” I do love this article - it has terrific concepts. However, it was hard not to notice there wasn’t a single woman cited as being a good leader, nor were any women quoted. Yet there were 12 men were included!
Also, while I’m kvetching, why is it that the majority of guys cited as great leaders are usually football coaches or hedge fund titans? So bro, yo.
Fast forward a few weeks. I come across another great article: Women Start Out as Ambitious as Men but it Erodes Over Time. Michelle Ryan, a professor of social and organizational psychology at the University of Exeter in the UK, conducts research around the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles and the connection to women reportedly having lower ambition. She finds that at the beginning of a woman’s career, they are likely to measure equal levels of ambition with men.
“But while men’s ambition increases over time, women’s decreases. My research suggests that this drop is not associated with wanting to have kids, or to stay home and look after them. It’s related to not having support, mentors or role models to make it to the top, and the subtle biases against women that lead to their choices.”
This is so sad and disappointing, but I can’t help but connect the the two articles. Without seeing women leaders in action, it’s hard for women to imagine themselves in significant roles. And, “in action” can mean at their place of employment, with mentors or sponsors who are women or cited in articles about being a great boss. Issues that seem insignificant, like seeing women in an article, are actually a symptom of the overall problem.
How can we chip away at this issue? I’m all ears!