A Review of the June 22nd Webinar with Gloria Feldt
In this webinar Gloria Feldt helped us to realize that power is in our hands and that we, as women, need to recognize it. Over the past twenty years, women have been earning 50% of all college degrees and landing in only 18% of top leadership positions across all sectors of the economy. In addition, the existing pay gap between men and women continues to take its toll. As it turns out, the cost to all women as a result of the pay gap is that we earn over $400,000 less then men who work in the same positions. That amount balloons to over $1,000,000 for women with college degrees as compared to their male peers. Furthermore, there are consequences to organizations if women are not included in leadership, including: limited viewpoints, women’s lens is underrepresented in products/services, and companies are unaligned with the marketplace.
There are barriers and biases existing that are hindering women from acquiring leadership positions in organizations. Implicit (unconscious) biases that exist include: assumptions, beliefs, painful truths, stereotypes, and both seen and unseen biases about gender. Gloria noted that an example of this is when a behavior is exhibited by both a man and a woman and is interpreted differently for each sex. She shared a quote from Sheryl Sandberg stating that “Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women.” This means that the more successful a man is the more likeable he is while the opposite is often true for women. This is a considerable factor contributing to the hindrance of our ability as women to move forward into leadership positions. Further hindering our ability are behavioral traits that are inherent to women. Gloria noted that psychological studies show that women will work 22% longer than men before they feel they have earned their money and that they value their work 19% less than men. In addition, women don’t typically “toot their horn” and are four times less likely to ask for a raise or promotion than their male colleagues in similar positions.
As women, it is important for us to recognize that what got you ahead in school could keep you back in your career and leadership. A significant power moment for Gloria was when she was introduced to the quote from Sojourner Truth that says “If women want more rights than what they’ve got, why don’t they just take them?” She later decided to embrace her “Power TO” upon researching women in politics for a magazine article. It was at that time that she learned that a main reason that there are so few women running for President is that women must be asked multiple times before they decide to move forward. On average, by the time the woman makes the decision to move toward with running there is typically a male candidate that is already the incumbent and it’s hard to beat an incumbent.
A poll of the webinar attendees pointed out that most women on the call felt that they are becoming comfortable with power but were short of fully embracing it. Gloria urges all of us to decide what we want to do with your Power TO and focus on our intentions of how we will get it done. After writing multiple books related to women and leadership, Gloria started Take the Lead, an organization that “prepares, develops, inspires, and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions by 2025.” In essence, the organization focuses on the idea that successful female leadership requires the exercise of the “Power TO” which focuses on leadership, teamwork, trust, solving problems, infinite possibilities, and making you feel powerful. She wants us all to know that women’s purpose in the 21st century is to walk through the doors that were opened in the 20th century.