At its heart, Take The Lead’s #25not95 campaign is about action and solutions. If we’re going to get to leadership parity by 2025—70 years ahead of the World Economic Forum’s current predictions—we need concrete steps we can take right away to start working towards our goal. And we need a clear vision to guide us.
In the spirit of #25not95, we asked leaders across all sectors: What is one thing we can do now that will help us reach leadership parity by 2025? Their responses are below.
We can disrupt the status quo by making women visible and powerful in media and thereby more visible and powerful in society.
– JULIE BURTON, PRESIDENT, THE WOMEN’S MEDIA CENTER
One thing we can do now is to thoughtfully design high-quality, inclusive institutions of higher learning that provide meaningful opportunities for all individuals to maximize their knowledge and leadership abilities.
– MICHAEL CROW, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
We need to encourage women and men to work together towards equality.
We can lead by example—for instance, never again say, “It’s probably only me, but…”
– GLORIA STEINEM, WRITER, LECTURER, EDITOR, FEMINIST ACTIVIST
We can pull each other up. Actively seek out opportunities to propel women into positions of leadership. Encourage rather than question leadership abilities.
– STACEY GORDON, CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS, CAREER INCUBATOR
One thing we can do now that will help us reach leadership parity by 2025 is collaborate to accelerate today’s unprecedented momentum for modern feminism. The 4th wave is happening now. Step on the gas pedal!
– CLAUDIA CHAN, WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT EXPERT & CEO, S.H.E. GLOBL MEDIA
One thing we can do now that will help us reach leadership parity by 2025 is supporting and advocating for each other.
– VERNĀ MYERS, CULTURAL INNOVATOR, INCLUSION SPECIALIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, VERNĀ MYERS CONSULTING GROUP
We can involve men. If men understand the importance of modern leadership skills like humility, collaboration, empathy, and compassion (as detailed in my book, The Athena Doctrine), they can see how having more women leaders is a business imperative.
– JOHN GERZEMA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BAV CONSULTING
To help us reach leadership parity by 2025, we can either take on a leadership role directly or encourage and inspire others to do so. It’s time to walk the walk.
– SYBIL VERCH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & WESTERN REGIONAL MANAGER, RAYMOND JAMES LTD.
We can start having honest conversations around the gender bias towards women leaders, held by both men and women, and begin to explore opportunities for change.
– DR. NADIA BROWN, AUTHOR, LEADING LIKE A LADY: HOW TO SHATTER YOUR INNER GLASS CEILING
One thing we can do as men is take personal responsibility to champion women. We can do this by sponsoring, promoting, or using our influence to help even just one woman to advance her career.
– GRANT WATTIE, FOUNDER, GLOBAL WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
In the United States, we can pass the Equal Rights Amendment and elect a woman president; and everywhere, we can give girls and young women laptops brimming with math and science software.
– CAROL JENKINS, WRITER, FORMER FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF THE WOMEN’S MEDIA CENTER, FORMER TELEVISION ANCHOR AND REPORTER
The one thing that you can do now that will help us reach leadership parity by 2025 is to get everyone within your organization on board with the importance of the goal and committed to actively achieving it. This is not a woman’s issue; this is a business imperative.
– JANET RICCIO, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, OMNICOM GROUP
We can set hard targets that have penalties if we do not meet them. I realize that “quotas” are a non-starter as a reform, so let’s make them a punishment: failure to achieve 30% women on boards by 2025 will result in a requirement that the company have 40% by 2030 or face penalties. When companies complain that the pipeline is too bare, then institute the “Women on Boards” policy that Australia has implemented to expand the pipeline. Waiting for the pool to grow won’t cut it.
– MICHAEL KIMMEL, SUNY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AND GENDER STUDIES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF MEN AND MASCULINITIES
We can encourage all our female colleagues to reach for middle and senior leadership positions. Change will only happen if women commit to excelling in their individual careers.
– ELYSE MEYER, FOUNDER, PRISM GLOBAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS
We can elect more progressive women to public office—starting with the first woman president in 2016.
– CHRIS JAHNKE, SPEECH COACH & AUTHOR, THE WELL-SPOKEN WOMAN
One thing we can do is not just mentor our fellow ladies, but also sponsor them. Every year, we hold a conference of over 350 ambitious undergraduate women, looking for their first break. It’s not enough to passively help each other—we must take active steps to boost one another to the top!
– CHARLOTTE LI, PRESIDENT, COLUMBIA WOMEN’S BUSINESS SOCIETY
We can spotlight achievements of today’s many superstar women, encourage female students to lead, and support young leaders.
– BARBARA BARRETT, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FINLAND
We can have empowered women serve as role models to young girls to help them discover their own transformative abilities, recognize their own strengths, and see their potential evolve to accomplishment.
– MAY ADVINCULA, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, DELTA PHI LAMBDA SORORITY, INC.
One thing we can do now that will help us reach leadership equality by 2025 is make a pledge to be actively mentoring at least one woman at all times.
– MARY BOONE, PRESIDENT, BOONE ASSOCIATES
Women may not have all the power and money they deserve, but they have enough to make things happen for each other. Invest your expertise, your ability to open doors, and your money in helping women entrepreneurs succeed. It will have a ripple impact on achieving parity in every sector.
– GERI STENGEL, PRESIDENT, VENTURENEER
We can do what women do best—collaborate across organizations so that we can reach the critical mass necessary to change the world.
– AMY LITZENBERGER, CO-FOUNDER, TAKE THE LEAD
We can ensure that pertinent legislation already in place is enforced and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
– THERESA L. DOLAN, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL WOMEN
What we can do right now is to inspire women to lead. We must network, educate, and unite to motivate one another. As Eleanor Roosevelt put it so perfectly, “In numbers there is strength,” and when women come together we are unstoppable!
– JENNIFER SILVA, WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT COACH, JENNIFER SILVA COACHING
You can give your voice to leadership parity.
– DEBORAH BATEMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BANK OF ARIZONA
We can speak to men at an emotional level, not only with a company-bottom-line perspective. Help men understand how they can help. Once they appreciate the personal success parity would bring to them via their daughters and wives and mothers, they will be fully invested in making leadership equality happen by 2025.
– DEBORAH GOLDSTEIN, FOUNDER, WOMEN’S ADVANCEMENT COMPACT
One thing you can do is recognize the need for, and value of, voices and experiences that are entirely different from yours as the way to find true success.
– LEON SILVER, PARTNER, GORDON & REES, LLP
We can provide opportunities for women to build leadership skills by encouraging women to take on leadership roles.
– CAROLYN NOE, PRESIDENT, NERDY GIRLS SOCIETY
We can have leaders in every organization looking for systems they can adjust to provide women in their organizations a place at the table, to encourage women to exercise their natural leadership to make it welcome as an enterprise brand expression. The predictable results are all positive: a more positive work environment, teams that make better more holistic choices, and an employer reputation that attracts the best and generates brand loyalty. This isn’t even hard nor complicated—just get it done.
– SEAN SPEARS, FOUNDER, SAGECROWD
This is Part 2 of a series. In Part 1, leaders reflected on why women’s leadership is important for business and for society.