Are We There Yet?
Harvard Business Review posted an article last week that essentially said there’s no reason to think women aren’t just as skilled in leadership as men.
<stepping outside the professional bubble for one second…
… okay. I’m done now.>
“Women are perceived by their managers — particularly their male managers — to be slightly more effective than men at every hierarchical level and in virtually every functional area of the organization. That includes the traditional male bastions of IT, operations, and legal.” (source: https://hbr.org/2019/06/research-women-score-higher-than-men-in-most-leadership-skills)
I don’t mean to sound snarky, but I feel like every woman who reads this report is having an “I told you so” sort of internal moment.
A slightly jaded woman might be thinking, “this report isn’t going to change anything. We already know this is true.”
A more optimistic woman might be thinking, “I need to work this to my advantage because I’m pretty sure I’m not making as much money as my peers, and now I have evidence to show that I should be.”
ISC(2) published their 2019 Women in Cybersecurity report in April and the results made me have one of those cartoon-eyes-windshield-wiper moments.
Women now fill more leadership jobs in cybersecurity than men.
But, we still make less money.
Baby Boomer women make way less than their male counterparts.
Gen X women make less than their male counterparts.
Millennial women make a little less than their male counterparts.
… even though, on average, women are only in their cybersecurity roles about 1.6 years less than men. 1.6 years does not a 12% wage-gap make.
We have had progress, so I can't really complain. It’s wild to me that in 2017, women in cyber made up just 11% of the roles, vs. 24% in 2019. That’s amazing. Yes, they’re measuring ‘cyber roles’ a little differently this year to be more encompassing of roles that aren’t solely cyber, but are cyber-related. But still, this is a great jump.
And, we have more women in leadership. This is rad. Really rad!
So, I’m sitting here asking myself: Are we there yet?
I think… no. We’re not there yet. But we’re close.
We can see it. It’s right there in our reach.
I think maybe we need to be a teensy more disagreeable. Don’t say “thanks” for the 12% less pay because it’s a great opportunity. Ask for more. Refuse to apply for jobs that require past salary documentation, because that just perpetuates low-ball salary offers.
I think we need to keep leaning in, speaking up for each other, claiming the wages and positions that are ours for the taking, and holding ourselves up as the leaders we are.
We need to keep shutting down “don’t ____ like a girl” jokes, and stop getting out of the way of the men barreling straight toward us in the crosswalk.
We need to continue to occupy more space. Men are taught to occupy space. They’re taught not to get out of the way. Y’all, if we are going to compete fairly with them, we’re going to have to keep occupying more space and standing our ground. We can fight fair, ladies. We can.
As we continue to occupy more real estate in leadership, and take the opportunities in front of us, we also need to take the power that’s ours and wield it with grace and honor. We need to be Leading Ladies. Our daughters and sons are watching. The world is watching. Some are watching in disbelief. Some are watching in awe. Some are cheering for us.
But here’s what I want you to remember: I’m cheering for you.
This community is cheering for you.
We are Leading Ladies. We are here for each other.
This is our time, ladies.
We’re almost there.