By Borja Santos, IE School of Global & Public Affairs Professor of Practice of International Development and Public Policy.
A recent survey found that 76% of girls (from a pool of 10,000 respondents in 19 countries) aspire to be a leader in their country, community, or profession – yet after some years pass, the inclination begins to wane. A troubling phenomenon indeed.
I teach and work at IE’s School of Global and Public Affairs and thus, it seems obvious but necessary for me to say: the future and its many varied and continued opportunity is fundamental for students – ours and those around the world. And many of those students are young women – 65% of the most recent intake our Master in International Relations is female – women with dreams of becoming leaders who make an impact on their world. Yet the reality of the world they will enter upon graduation doesn’t yet match up: of 500 biggest global companies, only 5% have a woman as CEO, and an average of just 24% of national parliament seats are held by women.
So, what is keeping women from leadership roles? I recently participated in the Gender and Growth Forum “Shaping the Future We Want,” organized by the Chatham House in London and this was among our important discussions. It is due, largely, to a matter of perception, how female leadership is perceived by both men and women in various sectors and dimensions. I believe there are three avenues through which we can change this perception: culture, organizational practices, and individual behavior.
I wrote about this topic in Agenda Publica (in English.) Please take a read… and let’s discuss and start making some changes.