Women and Leadership – Redux (June 2019)

Women and Leadership – Redux (June 2019)

Women and leadership – it’s one of my running themes. And why not? Among the reasons to continue the conversation:

  • While during the last couple of decades more women have secured positions of leadership, the number of women at the top remains low, very low. This applies to virtually every place on the planet.
  • While during the last couple of decades the amount of ink spilled discussing women and leadership has been, shall we say, abundant, change continues more incremental than impressive.
  • While the situation remains static and our fretting about it does the same, the heart of the matter, the beating heart of the matter, is still being sidelined.  

You forget what I wrote was the heart of the matter – the beating heart of the matter?  It’s babies. It’s that women bear babies and men do not.

Some stats:

  • In recent years American women have increased the amount of time they spend on their jobs.
  • American women who work outside the home spend an average of seven hours and 20 minutes each day on the job.  
  • American working women spend about a half-hour more each day than American men on household chores such as cleaning and cooking.
  • American working women with young children spend about two hours a day on tasks related to childrearing. American working men spend less than an hour and a half per day doing the same.  
  • In 2018 American women worked longer and played less than they did in 2017. They also slept less. *

Some facts:

  • Pregnant women who carry a baby to term reach the same peak levels of endurance as Ironman competitors.
  • Human mothers have the biggest children and the longest pregnancies of all apes.
  • Over 80 % of new mothers start out breastfeeding their children.
  • Breastfeeding is usually a positive experience for mother and child. At the same time, it makes demands on the mother, physical and psychological, that are not easily compatible with full time employment. These demands include time and energy, special attention to nutrition and caloric intake, and the need for enough rest and adequate sleep.

Those of us who still wonder why, despite the many high ambitions and the many good intentions, the number of women who lead continues to remain comparatively low have only to look at the whole truth. A truth that includes the impact on women of being solely responsible for bearing the baby and birthing the baby – and then largely responsible for raising it.  

And oh, then there is this!

In the United States today are nearly 12.6 million single parents raising over 21 million children. Of single parents only 16 percent are fathers. Which means that approximately 84% of single parents are mothers. Still wonder why so few leaders are women?   

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*Theses figures are from the annual U. S. Labor Department Time Use Survey.

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