Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Women in Leadership

This week’s Newsweek has a cover article on “How Women Lead.” According to their numbers, 23 percent of all state legislatures are women; 15 percent of Congress are women. Women currently comprise 46 percent of the US labor force, but only 14 percent of all boards in Fortune 500 companies. In contrast to these low numbers, women made up 50 percent of the entering class in law and med schools in 2004.

Women have had the vote for less than a century in this country. Europe was not significantly ahead in granting the vote to women, but many European countries have a much larger proportion of women serving in government.

The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society published a report on women and leadership positions in December 2004. Some of their data, women as a percentage of:

*Statewide elected officials: 25.2
*State legislators: 22.5
*Highest court justices: 28.8
*Department heads: 29.7

Clearly, gender should not be the sole reason for selecting a person in a leadership position. But the imbalance in America is striking, particularly for a society that considers itself egalitarian.

Harriet Miers doesn’t really help that balance.

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