In a December 2017 article by CNN, Jessica Alba, actress and Honest Company co-founder, discussed the necessity of an increase in women leadership within her company. Women make up 65% of the 400 employees at the Honest Company, yet only three women (including Jessica) have an executive role. The Honest Company has implemented an in-house mentorship program and curriculum, specifically for women to increase the demographics of women leaders.
The phrase “diversity and inclusion” is often used by many companies and universities as a goal for their racial and gender demographic representation. The concern is, whether this diversity and inclusion goal is a priority across every aspect of business; specifically, the representation of women in leadership positions. According to a statistical research report by The Catalyst, as of Fortune’s 2017 list, there have been 64 individual women in Fortune 500 CEO roles in total. This statistical data shows growth, but the influx of women earning professional degrees does not correlate with their representation in corporate leadership. According to the 2016 analysis completed by the National Center of Education Statistics, 11.2% of women hold a master’s degree or higher, while 7.2% of men hold a master’s degree or higher. Women may be making incredible strides in the classroom to surpass men, but we can’t say the same for the boardroom.
Despite the traditional majority of male leaders, the Honest Company and others are speaking out and implementing strategies for women leadership in business are embarking on a commendable task. Women in all positions in the corporate industry should take advantage of the programs created for women leadership and encourage your male counterparts to join in on the conversation. The business industry and all professions thrive when there are different perspectives engaged in the decision-making process, so don’t be afraid to pull up a seat at the table and make your presence and opinions known when you are there.
While many companies are creating programs to increase the representation of women leaders, there is another alternative. Ladies instead of waiting for any opportunity to present itself within your current company, you can also use your professional talents and academic background to create an opportunity through entrepreneurship. Success in the business industry is not gender specific, especially with the increased growth rate of women entrepreneurs in recent years. According to the Huffington Post, “globally, from 2015 to 2016, women entrepreneurship rates increased by double that of their male counterparts. In the United States, not only do women own 11.3 million businesses, it is estimated that 36 percent of all businesses are owned by women, an increase of six percent from 2007.”
The days where a woman’s domain is in her home with her children are well behind us. We are in a time where women are no longer subjected to the administrative and supportive tasks of employment, but are more than capable to hold the titles of “CEO”, “Managing Partner”, “Owner”, and “Senior Executive.” The business industry is inviting the growth of women and men are happy to pull up a chair for you beside them or at the head of the conference table.
Ladies, kick your heels high and smash the glass ceiling until it becomes a floor!
Antonisha Baker, J.D. - Author, Editor In Chief
Antonisha earned a Juris Doctorate and Certification in Transactional law from Emory University in 2017. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida in Business Administration with a concentration in Management in 2014. Antonisha has developed an interest in entertainment and entrepreneurship outside of the classroom through her involvement in leadership positions in academic organizations and in her professional career path. She has served as Editor in Chief/ Writer of Entertaineur Esq. since May 2016.
Catalyst, Quick Take: Statistical Overview of Women in the Workplace (August 11, 2017).
Digest of Education Statistics, 2016, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/tables/dt16_104.20.asp
Drazin, Haley. “Jessica Alba Wants More Women Leaders at the Honest Company.” CNN Money, CNN, 4 Dec. 2017, 11:26am, money.cnn.com/2017/12/04/smallbusiness/jessica-alba-honest-company/index.html?iid=Lead.
Gutierrez, Carlos M. “Women Entrepreneurs are Driving Economic Growth.” Huff Post, Huffington Post, 30 Oct. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-entrepreneurs-are-driving-economic-growth_us_59f7c3dce4b04494283378f3.