History is full of examples of women whose powerful leadership abilities changed the world. Queen Victoria, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, the women who led the education reform and civil rights movements … the list goes on and on. Today, women earn the majority of university degrees and more women are in the workforce than ever before, according to the AAUW. But still, women are underrepresented in our society’s leadership positions from Capitol Hill to the board room. Why? What is the cost? And what can we do about it?
According to the Harvard Business Review, there is a large body of research pointing to the fact that the subtle gender bias that continues to exist in today’s organizations disrupts the process of women learning to become leaders. This is evidenced by the New York Times finding that women make up only 6% of blue-chip CEOs, and 11% of CFO’s.
There is a direct cost to organizations who are not able to bridge the gender gap. According to Forbes, companies with 30% female executives make as much as 6% more in profits. Of course, this doesn’t even consider the personal and social costs of gender bias to individual women, families and our society.
So, what do we do about this problem? According to the HBR, research shows that it’s not enough to instill traditional leadership skills and competencies, as if women existed in a social vacuum. Internalizing a leadership identity and developing a sense of purpose are how people become leaders.
Internalizing a leadership identity is about creating a context that supports a woman’s motivation to lead, and increasing the chances that others will acknowledge and encourage her efforts. Developing a sense of purpose allows women to see beyond the status quo to what is possible, and inspires them to take action with courage and commitment. Women who have internalized a leadership identity and developed a sense of purpose are then able connect colleagues to a larger vision, drive commitment, and help others find deeper meaning in their work.
What are you doing to help the women in your organization develop a sense of purpose and internalize their leadership identity? We invite you to reach out to us to explore how using the power of music can empower, uplift and inspire your women leaders!