What do Silicon Valley, the Catholic Church and the nation of Germany all have in common? If the articles I’m reading lately are any guide, the answer is an under-representation of women in leadership.
Germany has taken the strongest action this month, actually passing a law a few weeks ago requiring its major firms to allot at least 30% of the seats on non-executive boards to women. The same can’t be said about Silicon Valley, where a recent gender discrimination lawsuit is shining a light on a longstanding tradition of VC firms not including women in leadership (or funding them, for that matter). Meanwhile, the Catholic Church – despite some nice commentary from the Pope – may be the most entrenched organization of all. It’s unlikely to change its stance on women in leadership for centuries.
This matters. We need more visible women in leadership – because balance at work begets balance in life.
We will all experience more balance in our families, our social structures, our communities, our businesses when we first learn as individuals to value a balance of the masculine and feminine. We’ll learn that individual balance when we value and include women in every pursuit.
And we’ll value women more, when they have more wealth.
You read that right! Women having wealth is good for all of us. It changes social structures for the better. Women having wealth changes…
- How our families operate
- How we spend money
- How our children are educated
- Our business policies
- Our political policies and approaches
There is a lot of resistance to change in most of our current corporate and political (and family and social) structures. More and more women are attaining leadership at Fortune 500 companies, for example – but the pace is far too slow. At our current rate of progress, we’ll reach parity – 250 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies – in 411 years. I’m not that patient.
Putting more wealth in the hands of women brings the change we want. So how do we have women have wealth quickly?
- Encourage them to start businesses – the willingness to trade creates prosperity
- Encourage these businesses to focus on the long-term and the greater good
- Encourage these businesses to seek a balance of the masculine and feminine – these will look, feel, and operate differently from what many of us know today
- Match these business ideas with funding – from other women
Am I saying that wealth is the only way we can measure whether women are valued? No. But it is a wonderful leveler of the playing field. Money knows no gender – some peoples’ money even has pictures of women on it. Imagine that.