Women continue to travel through the same 10 floors… over and over and over…
We cycle from the ground floor up to the 10th floor. Ground floor to 10th. Ground floor to 10th. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Programs, coaching, and books for women continue to play into this cycle of the same 10 floors. And when we reach the 10th floor, bash our heads on the glass ceiling, search for more answers, and are led through the cycle all over again through the exact same 10 floors.
It’s true, more women are being attracted to leadership. However, the challenge remains that the top decision-making roles are not being filled by women. There’s an under-representation in the Penthouse, and we need to change that once and for all.
According to Catalyst*, the overall participation of women in the labor force continues to grow. Women were 47.3% of the total labor force in 2016 compared to 37.1% in 1976. And the number of working mothers continues to grow. Between 1976 and 2007, employment for mothers with children under six years old more than doubled from 31.5% to 68.1%. However, women’s progress in reaching senior management positions has stalled. Men are two to three times more likely to be in a senior management position than are women. Women hold only 34.8% of all management positions and 37.1% of all senior management positions. Same 10 floors.
Where does female entrepreneurship fit in this equation? According to the Key Small Business Statistics – June 2016, 15.7 percent of SMEs (1-499 paid employees) were majority owned by women and 19.7 percent were equally owned by women and men in 2014. Here’s what concerns me: A report produced in May 2015** communicated that, overall, the majority female-owned SMEs had lower growth expectations. While 51.4 percent of majority female owners intended to grow their business by 1 to 10 percent per year, 56.2 percent of majority male owners and 59.9 percent of equal ownership owners intended to grow their businesses by the same amount. As well, majority female owners expressed the highest expectations (28.9 percent) for negative or no growth of their business compared with majority male owners (23.8 percent) and equal ownership owners (21.9 percent). Same 10 floors.
What about politics? According to a recent FCM report,*** Women make up 52 percent of the Canadian population but only 21.4 percent of municipal councils. Even at 21.4 percent, Canada’s municipal councils have a higher percentage of women than the House of Commons (20.8 per cent). In the 2006 federal election, 380 women ran as candidates, but only 64 were elected—two fewer than were elected in 2004. In 2015, the House of Commons demonstrated a balanced cabinet (88 women) 30/30. Progress, but we need more!
Priority has been placed in Canada to get more women in government, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) want to see their numbers increase from the current 21.4 per cent of municipal councils to 30 percent by 2026. The United Nations defines 30 percent as the minimum percentage of women required for government to reflect women’s concerns. Women represent 12.9 percent of mayors and 22.9 percent of councillors in Canada, for an average of 21.4 per cent, and a total of 5,242 women out of a total of 24,542 mayors and councillors. Based on current statistics, Canada would need 2,120 more women in elected office today to reach the 30 per cent target. That means increasing the number of women in municipal government by roughly 100 every year for the next 20 years.
“Canada is a progressive country and a world leader in many things. Unfortunately, women’s participation in political life is not one of them. Our goal is to reduce the real democratic deficit, the one that sees half of our population underrepresented in our political institutions.” ~ FCM Past President Ann MacLean, Mayor of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
PUNT IT TO THE PENTHOUSE, a PowHERhouse interactive media initiative is designed to encourage a dialogue among Canadian women regarding the importance and timing of doing things differently. We’re dedicated to finding a way around the glass ceiling, catapulting ourselves and our potential up, around, and over that glass ceiling as we Punt Our Way To The Penthouse.
3 Basic Beliefs Underlying the Punt It To The Penthouse Media Initiative
It starts and ends with potential.
- The majority of women are currently operating at 65% (est.) of their ultimate potential. Up-leveling the utilization of our potential is imperative.
Refine how we collaborate.
- I call bullsh*t on the term collaboration. It’s far too fluffy, too squishy. Roll-up-our-sleeves tangible traction is what is now called for, and it means ACTION.
Integration is the key to accessing greatness.
My beef with the same 10 floors is a deeply held belief by most women that we are somehow inadequate and in need of further ‘learning, developing, coaching, mentoring, help’ before we are ready to move up and forward with strategic ACTION. It is this very belief that is holding us back.
Here’s the thing: We do our best learning when we reach, stretch, and grow into all of who we are becoming. We’re never ‘there’, and we never get ‘there’. The entire step-by-step process of owning who we are as leaders involves stepping outside of our comfort zone – growing as a result – and preparing to take the next step.
Repeat after me: “I am a woman who is up to EPIC SH*T in the world. I am a Leader. I have a huge impact to make. I am talented, capable, and worthy. I am ready to be great!”
What exactly does PUNTING entail?
Potential. I’ve touched on this above. Decide where you are operating currently, where you want to be operating optimally, and what you need to ASK for in order to get from here to there. If you get stuck, ask an honest friend who has no problems calling you on your cr*p to give you some perspective and pointers to gear-up and get where you know you will operate at peak potential.
Unique. We have a PowHERhouse saying, “Dig deep to differentiate.” Put the time and effort in to get super-clear on who you are, what brought you to this point (your story), what sets your apart, and how it all threads into what you are here to do and offer in service as a leader in this world, ie. your IMPACT.
Navigate. Know what you are ready for. Commit to a strategy, break it into doable steps, and set those steps into action with a simple, consistent daily practice. Persistence, perseverance, and patience are your running-mates. Surround yourself with whatever and whoever you need to stay focused, inspired, committed and on task ~ even when you’re not.
Trust. All of this takes incredible courage. It is far easier to stay small and comfortable. It is much easier to continue to circulate through the same 10 floors. But I believe you were put on this Earth for much, much more. And I represent a collective of PowHERful women who feel likewise. We don’t have it all figured out – none of us do – but we just keep reaching, stretching, and growing into the leaders we are becoming. We are Finding Our Voice and Taking Our Lead.
At PowHERhouse, we are PUNTING IT TO THE PENTHOUSE and would love for you to join us! Learn more about our work and our powHERful women’s media collective, Women WE Celebrate, here.
***Getting to 30% by 2026, FCM Report