Fix the system, not the women: The Women’s Power Gap Initiative

TIAA Institute
By Andrea Silbert

For more than four decades, women have been earning the degrees, credentials, and experience to scale the leadership ladder. While we have experienced some
progress diversifying boards of directors, women’s advancement to the top inside our major corporations and institutions has been glacial. Today, women represent only 6% of the chief executives of the S&P 500, and just 1% are women of color, according to a recent study by Catalyst.

Why has progress inside our institutions been so slow? Efforts have largely focused on providing women and people of color professional development programs, mentors and sponsors, which can only take us so far. If we are to break the glass—or, as some prefer to say, the concrete—ceiling, we need to tackle institutional cultures that often undervalue less traditional leadership styles. To close the representation gap, which we at Eos Foundation call the Women’s Power Gap, efforts must focus on fixing the system, not the
women. So where to begin?

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