“Frankly, I am a woman, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a woman as president. Women are just - I just don’t know if we’re cut out to lead.”
These words came from Molly Gordon, a Christian conservative from Iowa who was interviewed by NPR at a candidate forum in Des Moines yesterday.
Her words sent a chill up and down my spine.
Maybe you can brush off Gordon’s comments as just religious dogma. Clearly some extreme Christians may deem women in a poor light, and believe women should just follow their husband’s orders, but such attitudes are more pervasive in society at large than we want to admit.
Take Corporate America. Women are just not breaking that pesky glass ceiling. Today, all-to-familiar dismal numbers on women in leadership positions at the nation’s major corporations were released. And coincidentally, one of the longest-sitting female CEOs at the Fortune 500, Avon’s Andrea Jung, just received a pink slip.
Every year, research firm Catalyst releases data on the make up of women in corner offices and corporate boards and not surprisingly, women have made little gains.
* Women held 16.1% of board seats in 2011, compared to 15.7% in 2010.
* Less than one-fifth of companies had 25% or more women board directors.
* About one in ten companies had no women serving on their boards.
* Women of color still held only 3% of corporate board seats.
* Women held 14.1% of Executive Officer positions in 2011, compared to 14.4% in 2010.
* Women held only 7.5% of Executive Officer top-earner positions in 2011, while men accounted for 92.5% of top earners.
* Less than one in five companies had 25% or more women Executive Officers and more than one-quarter had zero.
“Companies have much to gain by defying assumptions and taking action to advance talented women,” said Ilene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst.
Indeed, it’s assumptions like those of Gordon that play a big role when it comes to the lack of advancement among women.
And just in case the woman from Iowa only reads scripture and doesn’t pay attention to history or the news, let’s offer her some examples of women leaders. I’ll start: Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Meg Whitman, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and Golda Meir.
Come on, add some…
On Twitter, @SocialMediaLawy offered up Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher.