If you ask some of the most powerful women in business today what the future looks like, most of them agree on one thing: It will be better.
Some days, it can feel like women have hit a plateau professionally. The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 has gone up only ever so slightly in the past few years (the proportion of female chiefs hovers around 5%), and even when women do manage to break certain glass ceilings, there’s that pesky glass cliff waiting for them if they make one wrong move.
Yet business leaders like Case Foundation CEO Jean Case, Ellevest co-founder Sallie Krawcheck, and Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis remain hopeful that women will see better days.
“I think we’ll all feel equally excited…when women are equally represented in the workplace as they are in our population,” says Georgiadis.
The reason for that optimism? “The business world is not static,” says Krawcheck. “If it were then we’d have to continue to play the game the same way that we have, but things are changing—driven by technology—at a quite rapid rate. Whereas before, if there were issues in the workplace, a woman had a choice: Stay gutted out, go without information to another company, or go home. Today, there’s a fourth really important choice, which is start your own thing.”
By Valentina Zarya
Equality. Equity. Balance. These terms are widely used but they hold different meanings to different audiences. AESC talked to several members of the AESC Diversity Leadership Councils to consider gender representation at the tops of organizations, setting a marker for progress so far and mapping the path to parity.
Networking is a tricky word — especially for women in business. For some, networking conjures up images of crowded rooms full of people in suits exchanging business cards. For others, it might feel like asking someone to do something for you, which can be uncomfortable for many women.
To spot a male ally, start by looking for indicators of growth and opportunity in your workplace. Then, seek out individuals you recognize a practicing allyship behaviors. Beware of performative allyship, where there is no action behind their words. Finally, reach out to establish a relationship.