A female presence is severely lacking at executive levels in the United States workforce, with a recent Statista study showing only eight percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are women. Of that eight percent, there are currently no latinx females holding CEO positions at all. Although 41 Fortune 500 CEOs currently identify as female, there’s still work to be done when it comes to inclusivity and diversity, among other social issues.
Shraysi Tandon, a business reporter for CCTV America, reported the same startling findings to Forbes in a 2015 interview. When it comes to CEOs leaving the office, Tandon noted a higher share of women being forced out than men (38% of women vs. 27% of men).
Appointing a female executive of color to a CEO-level position while a company is failing is an action that reaffirms the biases that people in higher positions of power already have. This is only one of many obstacles that women in powerful positions must trudge through in order to do their jobs effectively.
Retraining Female Leads for the Workforce of the Future
There are currently thought leaders disrupting the space right now, and they’re right on campus here at Antioch University. We recently interviewed Dr. Jacqueline Reid, the National Director of the Women in Leadership Certificate Program at Antioch University Distance and Extended Education. The program is entirely online and serves women in mid-level management and leadership roles. The program not only gives them the ability to self-assess, but also clear feedback on their leadership abilities from mentors.
Since the program’s inception, there have been countless success stories from women in a range of roles. The reason? Mutual support is a must, says Dr. Reid:
“Everyone comes into this program with different needs and goals. One person wanted to start a non-profit. She wanted to make a difference between diversity and equity. She did it. Then we had another woman––she wanted to be able to negotiate a raise. Within a month after the program, she’s doubled her salary and doing something where there’s more of a lead role.”
In addition to a series of remote interactive meetings where members work directly with others to realize their strengths, this upcoming program will also highlight presentations around women of color about their experiences.
When asked about her take on other trends that are taking place in the workforce, Dr. Reid had this to say: “There’s a frustrating thing happening with the mention of DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. What it means is that when you think, observe, and lead––you’re to sustain that outlook while leading. How do you make sure that’s the emphasis of your marketing, your hiring practices, and all of those different aspects? We want to highlight pain points women sometimes might feel when adopting leadership roles, such as imposter syndrome. I would like to highlight the importance of positive workplace culture, along with some microaggressions that might pop up for women in leadership, and advice from mentors on how to navigate them.”
The certificate program features unique learning tools such as webcasts and podcasts surrounding the topic of social justice, including providing work experiences from women of color and communities for inclusive leadership. “It’s a psychological shift of ‘Not only do I understand it––I am it.’ Every success story is relative to the success that they want. Skills and strategies are key in this program.”
Perhaps with the assistance of experts like Dr. Jacqueline Reid in the space, we can hope to see a positive change in the overall future for our female leaders, specifically those representing minorities. Given the results of the last program run––so far so good.
Applications are currently being accepted for the February 2022 launch. Prospective students can sign up online with a deposit. Financial aid is available through scholarships, as well as payment plans. For additional information about the programs, contact Dr. Jacqueline Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buchholz, Katharina “Only 8 Percent of CEOs At Fortune 500 Companies Are Female.” Statista, June 4, 2021, https://www.statista.com/chart/13995/female-ceos-in-fortune-500-companies/.
Caprino, Kathy. The ‘Glass Cliff’ Phenomenon That Senior Female Leaders Face Today And How To Avoid It.“ Forbes, Oct 20, 2015, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2015/10/20/the-glass-cliff-phenomenon-that-senior-female-leaders-face-today-and-how-to-avoid-it/?sh=26be44f179c6
Connley, Courtney. “CLOSING THE GAP: A record 41 women are Fortune 500 CEOs—and for the first time two Black women made the list” CNBC Make it, June 2, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/02/fortune-500-now-has-a-record-41-women-running-companies.html.
Ryan, Michelle. “The Glass Cliff: Evidence that Women are Over-Represented in Precarious Leadership Positions” SSRN, British Journal of Management, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 81-90, June 2005. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=734677