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Where are all the Women CEO’s?

Friday, April 19, 2019

The feminist movement is strong right now – and frankly, it’s about time!  I have been out of college and in the business world for almost 15 years, worked for multiple companies, and until I started working here, I have worked under exactly ZERO women in that timeframe.  Doesn’t that number seem oddly low?  Where are all of the women leaders? For the first time in my career, I have the pleasure of working under a female CEO – our very own Denyse Cardozo (in fact, this week marks her 10-year anniversary at Silicon Valley Forum! I felt this topic to be fitting this week).  According to Forbes, “…less than 5% of CEO’s at Fortune 500 companies are women, and about 34% of global managers are women”(Global Gender Gap Report), but companies are taking action to change policies to accommodate women and encourage equality in the workplace. However, gender equality still has a long way to go.

I think it needs to start at home. We need to adjust the values we teach our children.

As a mother of two young boys, I encourage them to treat everyone equally – to play with girls and include them in their “boy stuff.” It shouldn’t be a shock to my kids or blow to their ego that I (a girl) can hit a baseball or beat them at Mario Kart. As a society, we tend to label girls from a young age as under-qualified, or not as “good” at things as boys.  We have all heard the sayings – “you run like a girl” or “…hit like a girl” or “…cry like a girl.”  I am pretty sure these are not meant to be compliments.  The negative labeling is embedded in us when we are young, and we carry it throughout our lives.

I can also attest that, as a mother, it is really hard to focus on a career and be the mom I want to be. When I was young and fresh out of school, I wanted to take on the world, and no one was going to stand in my way or tell me what I couldn’t do. My husband calls that stubbornness (I call it strong-willed). 😉  When I had a family of my own, my ambitious priorities to be the next “World Leader” changed drastically, and it was not a conscious choice. It felt instinctual (and VERY hormonal) to make my family and children my new priority.  There is a special emotional bond between a mother and a child. Children need their moms – and I can’t argue that I don’t love that. But for women, the struggle of career and life balance is real.

Maybe with this movement, we will find that the new generation of women CEO’s aren’t hiding – they’re inside us already, just changing diapers or deciding on a career or making selfless decisions that HAVE to be made now. The journey to the top is rarely a straight line. Whatever the case, the stats will shift eventually with encouragement and uplifting support of young girls and women. As my favorite inspirational internet meme says – “Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry!” 🙌

We are so excited to host an annual event that supports and empowers women leaders, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and more. The 5th anniversary of the Women in Tech Festival will be held on May 23rd-24that the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  We are proud to co-host this year’s celebration with IBM.  Get your ticket today and join the movement!   

Thanks for tuning in — Happy Friday!

Cheers 🥂,
Erin Ferguson
Marketing and Special Projects Manager

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