I have a 20 percent dilemma. Twenty percent of the new Senate is women. Hooray! Or do I mean shame on US! I am struggling to be positive about 20 percent because I see that figure, or something close to it, everywhere:
- 20% of Fortune 100 board seats are held by women.
- 25% of the corporate executives at our NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women are female.
- 21% of equity partners at our Best Law Firms for Women are female.
- 19% of the members of the new Congress are women.
The reason I even bother to be happy about 20 percent of anything is that many of the metrics about women are so much worse:
- 2% of venture capital money goes to women-owned businesses.
- 4% of CEOs at the biggest U.S. companies are women.
- 10% of governors are women.
- 11% of profit-and-loss jobs at major U.S. companies are filled by women.
Now, let’s look at the big numbers: 51% of all professional and managerial positions are held by women.
- 47% of the American workforce is women.
- 46% of all U.S. law school graduates are women.
- 57% of college graduates are, you guessed it, women.
To get anywhere in life, we need specific goals. My goal is parity for women. If we are half of the professionals and managers and half of the well educated and half of the workforce in this country, then we should be half of the top as well. We should be 50 percent, at least.
I celebrate the progress we’ve made. I honor the 20 percent. But I don’t want us to get complacent and bright-eyed with 20 percent. I want us to demand power sharing from the guys. Let’s get our fair share of the money, the top jobs, the board seats, the positions of influence—and the power.
When we do, you can be sure it will be smart power.