I've just read an article in the New York Times on the gender imbalance at global powerhouse Google which I found quite alarming.
According to the article by Farhad Manjoo Google's executive team is overwhelmingly male, and its work force is dominated by men. Over all, seven out of 10 people who work at Google are male.Men make up 83 percent of Google's engineering employees and 79 percent of its managers. What's worse, of its 36 executives and top-ranking managers, just 3 are women.
Sadly, this isn't just an issue at Google. I was shocked when I first heard that it may take up to 60 years for women to have equal presence in big businesses. I have always been an advocate for women in leadership, but I am not looking for tokenism - I actually think that the restructuring of the Boardroom isn't a battle between men and women, but about who is able to best demonstrate their ability as a Thought Leader and most deserving of a place at the table.
There are plenty of women with real skills and determination to make it to the top; they just need to put themselves in the running and prove they are 'REAL' thought leaders. Thought Leaders, or people who are known amongst others for their innovative ways of thinking and their individual ways of promoting those thoughts, are more important today than ever, but it is usually a role taken up by men. In this day and age, where women are open to equal opportunities to men, there is a gender re-balance happening, which is evident in the growing number of women coming into politics, as well as more women than ever starting their own businesses and joining executive boards. But there is still some way to go.
There is something to be said for the fact that women to date have had an even greater challenge than men to get their views heard and noticed, despite women's supposed excellent communication skills; So the race is now on as women take up the challenge, and men may have to fight harder to keep their positions.
As the number of men reduces to make way for women in the top jobs, more men will find themselves having to justifying their roles more than ever before and demonstrating what it is about them that makes them special. It's ironic that a focus on gender equality will actually result in a debate which isn't about gender at all. The new battle is about who is the best person for the role and we will increasingly see that it is those who can demonstrate REAL Thought Leadership that will gain the top seats.
We don't have 60 years to wait for women to naturally evolve into equal leaders in the boardroom which is why we need to take a stand now and help our women to succeed.
In my opinion men tend to have the upper hand in communication, because they tend to be more confident about their views and they are trained from a young age to be strong and bold. Standing up for oneself is not always part of a woman's training and this can hold them back. The truth is that women have the same potential as men as well as the same opportunities in business, and women to be bold and "show the men how it is done"