Every single day I see posts on social media.

Women earn less than men.
Only 20 female CEOs.
Lack of diversity on boards.

Then what follows is a lot of hand wringing. NOOO – THIS IS SO UNFAIR. OMG – I can’t believe it is 2018 and this is still happening.

4 seconds later….ooohhhh cute cat video. You move on with your life and nothing changes.

I won’t lie – I read some of these things and feel really helpless. I also enjoy a good cute cat video.

And then this happened.

A report commissioned by the UK government called the Hampton-Alexander review. It’s aim was to look at increasing the number of women in senior positions in FTSE 350 companies . Yes – I am one of the few people who get on mailing lists for these reports and when I got it in my inbox I was pleased to see that the number of all-male company boards fell from 152 in 2011 to 10 in 2017.

GREAT! We are making progress. Let the cat videos begin!

But wait – oh no – hold on a damn minute. Despite a big drop in the number of companies with all-male boards, many are refusing to move on into 2018 with some of the WORST reasons for not appointing women to leadership roles.

Not terrible but OFFENSIVE AND OUTRAGEOUS reasons which I will now highlight my top 5. (Yes they have MORE)

Here we go:

  1. ‘We have one woman already on the board, so we are done – it is someone else’s turn’
  2. ‘I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment’
  3. ‘All the ‘good’ women have already been snapped up’
  4. ‘Most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board’
  5. ‘There aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex’

Let that sink in people. Let it sink in DEEP. Now I want you to harness this feeling.

Now instead of quiet rage and a feeling of helplessness I am going to give you a list of ways you can start to make a difference – TODAY!

  1. Join a board – a non-profit board, a city board, a board about something you care about. There are over 50 board positions available through Charity Village. Apply!
  2. Encourage friends to join a board. I don’t want to hear this garbage excuse that “they have no board experience” ever again!!
  3. Become a mentor. Have a female junior account manager who has been asking for your advice? Are you part of professional organization that needs mentors? Become one to a determined and driven young woman.
  4. TALK about this. Talk loudly. Don’t let it go quietly into the night!
  5. Encourage other women to apply to senior level roles. I have said it before and I will say it again. As an HR person and as a manager I literally have tapped female employees on the shoulder and asked them to apply for jobs knowing that they would not have otherwise. Throw your hat in the ring. If you are feeling a bit underqualified or not sure….read those reasons above again and DO IT!

This is just a start. Let me know if you have any other actionable ideas!

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