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Social Report: Women in Leadership


A recent report found that there are far fewer women in Central Iowa leadership roles than men. The Business Record asked readers:

What do you think is the No. 1 reason that the number of women in leadership positions lags so severely behind the number of men in leadership roles?


1 – To just turn over positions to females just because they are female would be unwise for both the employer and employee. Skill development and experience with a variety of executive issues will reward both with success. Females are making progress and pretty quickly there will be a burst of new promotions for females because they’ve been paying their dues, as should be required of any employee, no matter their gender.

2 – Time required to raise a family. This doesn’t affect all women, of course, but a substantial share. And, on average, it affects women more than men. Overall, I suspect women who are both competent and capable are being given promotional opportunities. But it’s necessary to be both at the senior management level.

8 – Old boys club thinking! Now, everyone is falling all over themselves to promote gender; not skill or experience.

1 – Most women do not have goals to be in leadership positions.

3 – The relatively lower number of women with 20+ years of uninterrupted experience.

7 – Des Moines is a great town with lots of opportunities, but is still run by white males. There is a very strong invisible ceiling that does not allow minorities or females to attain certain levels.

10 – Sexism.


6 – I believe there is a lack of understanding about what women bring to the table and their ability to balance work and home. If a women stays home with a sick child, she is uncommitted. If a man stays home, he’s a hero.

6 – In many cases, at least in DSM, it seems to still be the “good old boys club” where very few women are welcomed into the inner circle.

7 – Men have a club that is hard to break into. For instance, I am amazed that so many HR departments are mostly female with a male VP. The percentages don’t add up.

6 – I think the good old boy network is alive and well. At least in my company, the guys go fishing (during work hours) and I’m not invited. Or if someone is needed to fill in a golf foursome for a charity event, a women is never invited. I think men see women as having too many conflicts, such as taking care of the kids and the home, to rise above a certain level.

4 – On the boards I have served, many of the men often still act like an ole’ boys club even in the female board members’ presence, giving more credence to their comments, huddling with each other before/during/after the board meeting and barely acknowledging the women in other places socially. It appears to be somewhat gender and income favoritism. But since very few of the women’s salaries are equal to theirs, I guess we can’t be part of their club.

8 – Many women do not have the confidence to apply for the positions.

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