Introducing the updated and refined mission of the Jamie On Purpose platform!
*Cue the fireworks and trumpet fanfare*
Today’s female young professionals and side hustlers are tomorrow’s CEOs, government officials, and community leaders. Jamie on Purpose’s mission is to close the gender leadership gap by equipping these ambitious, aspirational leaders with the tools they need to build the careers and lives of their dreams.
In a nutshell, the goal is closing the gender leadership gap by educating, empowering, and encouraging today’s female young professionals to be tomorrow’s CEOs, government officials, and community leaders.
Even nutshell-ier: Closing the gender leadership gap by equipping today’s female young professionals to be tomorrow’s business & community leaders.
Did I need to share all three versions? Maybe, maybe not. But I am pretty freakin’ excited about refining and articulating what it is that I’m trying to do here, and (not to be dramatic but) what my purpose is on this earth.
So let’s look closer at this. Why is the gender leadership gap (GLG) my focus?
As opposed to the gender pay gap…
For one, it is the less debated sister-topic to the gender pay gap (which *ahem* definitely is real). In fact, the GLG is actually an input to the pay gap, so solving for GLG would help (although NOT entirely solve) the pay gap as well
It is also a much more publicly accessible and verifiable gap. In a quick Google search, I was able to see how many Fortune 500 CEOs are women (37), and how many members of Congress are women (127). That clear-cut data makes it very hard to deny that this is, in fact, a problem (as opposed to the pay gap, where salaries and other forms of compensation have been shrouded in secrecy for so long)
It’s not because of a “pipeline” issue…
It persists across all sectors and industries. Even industries where the workforce is dominated by women (such as K12 education), the leaders — administrators, school board members, and superintendents at each level — become increasingly male. So we know it’s not just limited to a sourcing or a pipeline issue.
It’s not an education issue. In generations past, the leadership gap could be written off as “giving the leadership positions to those most educated for it” but as we see a majority of the degrees earned each year by women, we know this isn’t the case anymore. Again, those numbers are easily Googled.
So what is the GLG all about?
Some things that are contributing to the GLG: overt and covert sexism in the workplace, patriarchal society’s views of a “woman’s place”, limiting beliefs that women hold about themselves, unequal household responsibilities between male & female partners, and a lack of community of women to talk about these real challenges and to share solutions.
For each of these, knowing they exist and hold women back is Step 1. Step 2 is either figuring out how to fix them or navigating around them. Step 3 is sharing with your friends. That’s just 3 things!
A note on leaders
Leaders are important because they set the tone for their organization and because they serve as role models for others. While I think we all know the value of leadership, why it matters to have leaders who look like us is an entire post in itself. *Adds to backlog*
A note on women (cis, trans, nonbinary, and more)
While I am mostly focused on a broad definition of women (which is inclusive of cis and trans women), there is special attention needed for the struggles of trans women and nonbinary people, and that’s before we even look at the intersectionality of race and gender. Our leadership ranks are primarily filled with cis-gendered men, mostly white. That is a problem NOT because there’s anything wrong with white guys, but because we need our leadership in business, government, and community to reflect the way that our world actually looks, which is made up of all kinds of races and genders and abilities and backgrounds. My experience is in being a white, able-bodied, cis-gendered woman — which I recognize gives me the blinders of privilege — but I am working to educate myself more on the struggles and unique hurdles these people face. I never intend to speak for communities that I do not represent, but I will always do my best to be inclusive and thoughtful of those communities.
A potential rebuttal
A question that I have asked myself and that others might use as a rebuttal to the GLG:
“What if women are voluntarily opting out of leadership roles?
What if the gap exists because women don’t want women to be leaders, not because men don’t want women to be leaders?”
While I am confident that this is true for some women who would prefer not to have the responsibility of leadership, I am not convinced that this happens at the same rate that we’re seeing women not be leaders, and it is likely proportionate to the number of men who aren’t suited for leadership.
I would be willing to bet that more women, when they’re given the tools to excel and they’re freed from their limiting beliefs and they’re provided the red flags to watch out for, will be ready to step up to leadership.
So that’s the bet I’m making.
*Cue Shania Twain’s “Let’s Go Girls”*
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