There are currently a half-dozen women running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and more candidates of color running than ever before.
However, in a nation founded on the “melting pot” principle where we pride ourselves on progressiveness, diversity is lacking in our boardrooms to the point where states have to implement mandates and pass legislation to ensure gender and ethnic quotas are being met on company boards.
What does this say about the U.S., and could it signify a larger issue in corporate America? Are we not preparing our women and minorities for the boardroom?
It certainly doesn’t help matters when we have companies clutching onto the longtime standard of its board members being white middle-aged men. Nor is it a good look having a president who attempts to nominate men such as Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Moore recently claimed that family stability could be disrupted if women earned more than men.
The hard truth is that, as a nation, we have done very little to assist women and minorities in the boardroom space. This lack of help or preparation isn’t strictly from a corporate perspective either. It runs deeper.
Many view it as it being, at its core, a societal issue. It starts with the fundamentals — how society shapes our views of others and ourselves. It starts with our sense of self: Am I good enough, qualified enough, and accepted enough? It starts in our schools, government, and in the media with regard to how women and minorities are portrayed, spoken to, and spoken about.
This viewpoint is the fuel for countless movements, including #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and most recently, the political action group Supermajority.
According to the Supermajority website, they will be a “new home for women's activism, training and mobilizing a multiracial, intergenerational community that will fight for gender equity together."
The group is planning to mobilize millions of females around various issues pertaining to women, causing these issues to be "front and center," ahead of the 2020 election.
The launch of Supermajority comes approximately six months after a record number of women and women of color were elected to Congress, thus changing its balance of power and showcasing the diversity it so richly deserves. This now ensures women of having historic levels of legislative and political power, while maintaining the voting majority in 2020.
We are experiencing momentum around women leadership that we haven’t seen in our lifetime. We have a heightened sense of doing what’s right and balancing out the opportunity for women to serve at all levels of government, society and business.
This will translate into increased numbers of women and minorities serving on boards of companies, which we must all prepare for now. As companies seek to achieve gender balance in governance — whether on their own or required by law — women will be ready to step up and into their role…and take their seat at the table.
Sheila Ronning, founder and CEO of Women In The Boardroom – an organization founded with the goal of bridging the gender gap in the boardroom – is a recognized expert on boardroom diversity and leadership. Follow her on Twitter (Twitter @RonningSheila).
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