A few weeks ago another urgent and predictable request came from a client:

“Our CEO wants more women in senior positions. Please help us accelerate women’s leadership development!”

This company (a global healthcare company based in Europe) is like so many. It has business challenges and talent challenges — and the lack of women leaders intersects the two.

As I talked with the HR leader, I was able to share a bigger picture of women and leadership, as we see it.

Here is the full text of our point-of-view statement about women leaders — a framing that underscores our approach to developing women leaders, whether in with corporate clients, or with government, education, non-profit, or community organizations.

Women Leaders: Ready to RISE

The facts are clear:

While women have made great strides in leadership, globally the proportion of women in senior roles of organizations has been stuck at 24% for the last decade. There are currently fewer women on the boards of S&P 500 companies than men named John, Robert, James, and William.

In every region of the world, women are less likely than men to be employed full-time. Globally, men are 10 times more likely to be a head of government, and women are twice as likely to be denied an education. As early as fourth grade, girls start opting out of leadership roles.

These facts are not the result of a lack of capability or motivation on the part of women and girls. They are due to cultural and organizational practices and mindsets that (sometimes unintentionally) continue to promote a male-based definition of effective leadership, gradually and pervasively shrinking and discounting the perception of the way in which girls and women lead, and often misattributing the work that they do.

By recognizing biases, challenging inequalities, and reimagining the boundaries of leadership, we can broaden our vision of who leaders are and what they are able to accomplish. This, in turn, will create communities and organizations capable of finding innovative solutions to the increasing complex challenges of our times.

As a global community, we must RISE to create a world that values all forms of effective leadership and that celebrates all leaders who strive to improve the state of humanity.

Girls, women, organizations, and communities around the world are ready to RISE.

Girls and women RISE when they recognize and liberate their leadership potential. Organizations and communities RISE when they create environments and cultures that fully utilize the strengths of all genders in leadership roles.

For over 3 decades, we have led the effort to help girls, women, organizations and communities RISE.

Each year we reach more than 10,000 women from more than 120 countries. We reaffirm our commitment to increasing the pipeline of potential women leaders around the world through developing women and girls, shifting mindsets in organizations and communities, sharing our research, and collaborating with partners also committed to this global future.

We invite others to join us in helping women rise through:

  • Reinventing what it means to be a leader.
  • Initiating partnerships and starting conversations.
  • Supporting women and girls by providing spaces to learn to lead.
  • Educating others about their role in creating the environment that liberates leadership potential in women and girls.

Are You Ready to RISE?

I’ve been working with clients for many years and taken many approaches to help develop and support women as leaders. I have seen tremendous business results — and personal outcomes — when women are thriving in their jobs and leading effectively. And I want to see more of it!

So, what are you doing to help the world’s women rise? What do you see as a next step for you or your organization?

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