While women comprise more than half of all working professionals in the US, the number of women in leadership roles is only around 25%.
When it comes to women in leadership, it can frequently feel like we’re navigating a man’s world. As the Center for American Progress reported in 2017, women make up nearly 51% of the U.S. population and hold almost 52% of all professional-level jobs. However, American women lag substantially behind men when it comes to their representation in leadership positions. Only 25% of managers, senior-level, and executive-level positions are filled by women; only 20% of board seats belong to women; and only 6% of CEOs are women.
The good thing about women in small businesses is that many small companies are nimble enough to make changes to the composition of their company and or simply bring women in and promote them as the company grows into a larger business someday.
It may be time to consider the role that women play in your company as well as resources that both men and women can use to begin to learn more about the importance of women in leadership. A book is a great plae to start– and here are some of our favorites:
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Not exclusively centering around business, Daring Greatly is an excellent read for anyone—women in leadership and otherwise—looking to get more courageous in their lives. Brown’s research and theory is that courage is a function of vulnerability and we can all benefit from making space for it in our lives.
A #1 New York Times bestseller, the book seeks to disprove the myth that vulnerability is a weakness: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring us purpose and meaning to our lives,” in business and otherwise.
Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office by Lois Frankel
In her book, Frankel zeros in on certain behaviors—everything from worrying about offending others or getting too much feedback from others before making a decision—that tend to hold women back in the workplace.
By analyzing different human (and often female) behaviors, she’s able to help identify why some women excel in their careers, and some hold themselves back. Anyone who has found themselves acting out one of these 101 behaviors will benefit from reading the book.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
While Bossypants isn’t a traditional business book, it covers all kinds of advice Fey has gleaned from her storied career. From grappling with the term “bossy” being applied to women to hilarious tales of time on the internet, the book is “a fair representation of Ms. Fey’s self-image as a smart, unyielding women who has forced her way to the top of what is usually a man’s profession,” writes a New York Times reviewer.
If nothing else, readers will be entertained and will have an awesome example of female success to aspire to.
All The Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister
Similarly, this is not considered a business book, but the meticulous chronicling of the important role that single women specifically have played in shaping history should be enough to reassure any self-identifying woman that her role in the (business) world is valuable, even when it’s hard and even if it sometimes seems like it’s not. As one review puts it: the book is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies” in the way that it reviews contemporary American life.
The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Learn but Won’t Learn in Business School by Selena Rezvani
Rezvani’s book is the result of interviewing women executives across industries for a year, in search of stories of women who have successfully navigated the male-dominated world of company leadership. The result is a book that encourages women of younger generations to advocate for themselves as they endeavor to achieve professional growth and success.