Response to Newsweek Women Leaders Article
Behind Every Powerful Woman…
October 24th Newsweek's cover is about HOW WOMEN LEAD: 20 of America's Most Powerful Women. Taking a closer look, we can see they lead with sponsorship from powerful men.
Governor Bush, my husband Bob, my father, my brother, Brig. Gen. Richard Richard Ursone, Lt. Col. Robert Bowles, ACCION’s president Bill Burris, Mayor Gavin Newsome, Former Xerox CEO David Kearns, Woody Herman’s arranger, Leonard Bernstein, and my friend the casting director. Here’s the new challenge for feminism at work---recognizing the men that coached your 20 Most Powerful Women to success!
The fact is that most of the women leaders today are fictional because men are still in charge of 70-99% of corporate boards, executive officer positions, college professorships, government and even news editing positions. With all of that influence, women need powerful men to help break barriers for them. Especially since we have not reached the “critical mass of women in leadership” you touted, nor have they achieved equality in pay.
The grocery cashier who sold me my copy of Newsweek answered your cover on the lessons learned when she smirked doubtfully and said, “Yeah, You can’t depend on men!” But the powerful women leaders’ answer to the cashier seems to be an entirely different experience, that men can be credited for inspiring them, sponsoring them, and even creating a flexible workplace where they can bring their two-year-old on the campaign.
A better question than “how” is “why” these women have the opportunity to lead. They prove powerful men believed in their talent, made change, and broke barriers to success. When men choose to empower women, then equality can be achieved, and women as leaders won’t be unusual enough to make the cover of Newsweek.