Success in Female Leadership: Keep Momentum Going


By SARAH CORNETT – EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

In September of 2011, Jill Abramson was appointed as the Executive Editor of the New York Times.

Abramson’s appointment should have come as no surprise, considering her past résumé includes notable positions at Time, the American Lawyer, and the Wall Street Journal before spending 14 years at the New York Times. All of these qualifications seem rather normal for the top position of one of the top newspapers in the world.

Yet Abramson’s appointment was marked as one of the most pivotal moments for the organization. Why?

Because in the 160 year history of the New York Times, Jill Abramson is the first female Executive Editor.

While it might be easy to brush off the New York Times as an outlier, this lack of female leadership is much more the norm than the exception.

Don’t believe me?

Currently in the world there are 190 heads of state and nine of them are women. Taking into account the members of parliaments around the world, only 19 percent are women.

In the corporate sector, a study published in 2012 by Columbia Business School reveals that women held only 40 of 367 executive positions in the top 100 public companies by revenue.

Of these 100 companies, 68 had no women serving in top executive roles. Even in the non-profit world, only 20 percent of top-level positions are held by women.

These numbers have barely moved since 2002.

It’s easy to think that this phenomenon is only present out there in the big bad worlds of politics and business, but it actually hits much closer to home.

Here at Centre we suffer from the same lack of female leadership that we are witnessing across the nation.

While the number of women involved in campus organizations has risen slowly over the past several years, there is still a lack of female representation and an even greater lack of female leadership.

Currently, the top eight most funded organizations on campus include: the Student Activities Council (SAC), the Student Government Association (SGA), Centre Democrats, Centre Republicans, the Cento, Centre Action Reaches Everyone (CARE), Centre Environmental Association (CEA), and the Centre Christian Fellowship (CCF).

Only one of these organizations possesses a female president.

Of the 34 members of SGA, only 11 of the 24 class representatives and four of the ten executive officers are women. In the Student Senate, two of the six members are women, and a little under half of the Student Judiciary are women.

Quite frankly, these demographics are just unacceptable.

Despite the fact that all of these organizations lack strong female leadership, I do not find any blame with the organizations themselves.

It is not that any one of these organizations is actively trying to prohibit female leaders or refusing to allow female involvement, but rather the option for a female leader just isn’t there.

In a society that has to pass legislation to ensure that women are paid the same as men, it is easy to start playing the blame game. It is all too convenient to sit around and complain about the glass ceiling, accuse men of being chauvinistic, or whine about sexist double standards in society, but none of this will do us any good.

If we are truly to start a wave of feminist leadership, we need to stop being so anti-men and anti-society and start being pro-women.

So in the midst of campus organization officer elections for next year, ladies, let’s step up. Let’s run for executive positions, let’s run for presidential positions, let’s allow women to finally be represented on this campus.

We are not worse than men, we are not better than men, we are equal to them.

Now all we have to do is prove it.


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