40% of large public companies worldwide have no women on their board of directors -- while the top 10 ranked S&P 500 companies have boards comprised of at least 1/5 women. As Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has said, "We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women's voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored." We've been hearing calls for more women in leadership roles for years -- so why aren't we yet at a critical mass?
Initiating a worldwide shift will require more than a few promotions. It will require a rethinking of the workplace, and both men and women will need to take up the cause as their own. If women are to rise in the ranks, men who hold senior and executive positions (still a vast majority) will have to reach out to them fearlessly and unambiguously. The Women Corporate Directors group (WCD), comprised of over 225 of the most powerful corporate business women in the world, advocates that at least one woman be considered in every board member search. That's a start. Men can also serve as mentors to ambitious young women. Futurist Edie Weiner and Nina DiSesa, Chairman of McCann Erickson New York, have both looked to the men in their offices for guidance and advice.
For the next few weeks Big Think, in partnership with the Women Corporate Directors, will be bringing you video interviews with some of the trailblazing women who will speak from experience about this critical issue.