As a female leader, I wanted independence, self-reliance, and a successful career. Diapers and daycare are expensive. Everything with children is expensive. It is a lifetime commitment. You can get out of jobs, marriages, leases, and debt. Yet, you can’t get out of being a parent if you have children. You are no longer responsible for a child until they are 18. You now have to ensure them until they are 26 if they do not have health insurance. 26 years old, yes. When I was 26, I purchased a home and would never expect my mother to continue financially supporting me.

This May, Forbes released the Fortune 500. Out of 500 companies, there are 24 female CEOs, which equals under 5%. There are 22 female CEOs, not one being African American. Perhaps, that is why the birth rate is low.  Seeing statistics like this shows it is still a “mans world” in 2018. It’s a Caucasian man’s world too, with only three male CEOs being African American. No matter your race; sex is also a matter of diversity and culture.

Women want to be empowered and there are females in companies that are amazing leaders but don’t rise through the ranks. The glass ceiling from these statistics alone is crystal clear; almost as it has just been cleaned by Windex.  What is the reason for this? Is there scientific, hard evidence that demonstrates why more women are not leaders? Are we missing a certain component anatomically?

I would like to take it a step further, the companies listed on the Fortune 500, let’s look into all management positions and determine the sex and race. Let’s even go a step beyond that and research the companies that are not on the Fortune 500 and check out the same statistics. Any publicly held company should have to submit their demographics and this issue needs to be addressed. A lack of diversity is a red flag for a lack of culture. It also poses the discrimination question. It is ok if the CEO is a male, but what does the rest of his structure feature: how many men and women are in leadership roles and what are their races?

I think diversity is a beautiful thing and I was fortunate to work all over the country with many diverse people. When you see a diverse team come together in unity that sets goals and accomplishes them; it is the ultimate satisfaction! You also learn so much and it is a rewarding experience.  I have been introduced to foods I have never tried before, cultural traditions, and knowledge. I looked at it as a privilege to be accepted openly and to work collaboratively, where we all supported and were proud of each other.

I feel for the women who have the experience and leadership qualities to get promoted, but then see a man with no experience or qualities get the position. Women, still in 2018, lose opportunities due to men being preferred. Ladies, when is enough, really enough? Sorry, but you are not part of the “good old boys” club! It is not that women and diverse individuals feel that they are being held back, they actually are! The numbers show it.

Am I the only one who has seen male’s fragile egos crumble when a female is in power? In my professional experiences, I was surrounded by truck drivers, contractors, and sub-contractors; mostly all men. I had to be as tough as nails when dealing with them or they would have walked all over me and prevented my goal from being accomplished. I felt proud because the staff (male and female) always showed me respect. The few who didn’t show respect to me knew that I can call a spade a spade. I never fell for the BS artist, they could kiss up to someone else who was too socially inept to see their truth. The people who matter are genuine, transparent, and authentic.

If you feel that you are being held back by your company due to race or sex, then it is time to rethink. There is a company that will embrace you. If you are a true leader, you know it by one indication: your people. Now, I understand why when a great leader moves to a company, the people go with them. Take a hard look at yourself and your people. Take a hard look at your company.  Take a look at your level of career satisfaction. Then the ball is in your court and you can do whatever you wish.