As I have just entered my senior year of college, the biggest thing on my mind is life after graduation. I think that the worry of all graduating seniors is whether or not we will be employed in our fields once we leave school. The Huffington Post recently reported that a Fortune study found that, of the Chief Executives at Fortune 1000 companies, only 7 percent are women. As a woman about to enter the workforce, I find that statistic disheartening because it feels like the odds are stacked against women.
I think that hearing such a low statistic can deter young women from believing in themselves and really believing that they are equal in the workforce. The fact that there is such a small number of women executives in major companies in our country, like International Business Machines Corporation and General Motors, reflects how far we have to go before the genders are equal in the U.S. The article stated that women are well represented in two areas of company leadership: “They make up almost half of chief marketing officers, and more than 60 percent of chief human resources officers.” These statistics are also discouraging because it places women into a corner. As a college student who is not majoring in marketing or human resources, I feel like there will be less opportunities for me to climb the corporate ladder. I think the only way to fix this problem is to increase the number of available executive positions for women in major companies.
It is crazy to me that women make up more of the population on this campus and many campuses around the country, but we are not even close to being equally represented in the workplace. It is also absurd to think about how many years women have been employed and working in corporate America and could be climbing the corporate ladder, and yet in leadership positions we are so far from equal to men. It would seem that women aren’t working hard enough or aren’t applying for these jobs, but I believe that the problem is with available positions.
I think that the troubling statistics could inspire and encourage women to reach for higher leadership positions. I could understand women wanting to work harder and prove the statistics wrong and earn leadership positions, but I don’t think this equality issue is about the quality of the work women do. I think that it is inherent sexism in corporate America to not make executive positions available for women like they are for men.
Entering the working world is scary and stressful enough even when you’re someone with a college degree. However, being a woman makes it even tougher knowing that no matter how smart you are or how hard you work, the corporate world already has its mind made up about you. It disappoints me that there are not many female chief executives at large companies because it makes being ambitious and wanting success that much harder for women of my generation. Unless there is a drastic change in the number of executive jobs available for women I don’t think that this is a problem we can fix in our generation. The problem and inherent sexism is just too ingrained in our society to be drastically fixed right now or in the foreseeable future.