While more women are earning executive positions, the overall state of female leadership, especially when compared to men, leaves much to be desired. Statistics show that although women make up a majority of the U.S. population, only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. This same trend of women occupying a majority of professional and managerial roles but not advancing to top leadership positions extends across various industries, including law, finance, and medicine.
This is just one example of why I, as a female leader of an all-female team, made it a priority to attend the Linkage 2019 Women in Leadership Institute Conference.
The four-day conference hosted 900 women from more than 100 companies, including Oracle. The conference focused on the importance of diversity, how to overcome hurdles in the workplace, and enhance individual leadership skills.
Women’s leadership conferences like this one highlight the need for and the importance of creating support systems for women in business. No single person rises to the top of their game alone. It is through the help of mentors, the feedback of peers, and team development that assist in creating a successful leader, female or otherwise.
Some themes at the conference resonating with me focused on using failure as fuel (you learn more from a loss than from a win), putting your team before yourself, and to remember “when she demanded what she wanted, she delivered.”
Though for many women, it is a case of “she delivered, so then she demanded.” In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) won their second consecutive FIFA World Cup title. However, the attention was not so much on their achievement on the field, but rather how much they were compensated for it in comparison to their male counterparts, who did not even qualify for the 2018 men’s FIFA World Cup. It’s estimated each member of the women’s team received less than $40,000 for making the tournament, while the men’s team (had they qualified) would have made almost $70,000.
In May 2020, after filing wage and gender discrimination suits, the USWNT will go to court seeking equal pay for superior work. It is through this type of female leadership and the support of female-led initiatives like the Linkage 2019 Women in Leadership Institute Conference that we can continue to subvert the statistics and shatter ceilings.
About Rebecca Hines
Rebecca Hines is the Director of Events and Employee Experience for Oracle Data Cloud.