Data gives us insights. It wasn’t until my controller locked herself in my office and forced me to look at our numbers that it dawned on me: it doesn’t matter what we think—data is proof. I thought I knew which part of my business was strongest, but my controller gleaned from the data that a different segment had taken the lead.

When I sold my business because of this leading segment’s success to Corbis (owned by Bill Gates), I took a look around.

I finally understood why so few women are able to achieve what I did. I know why more of us don’t make it all the way to the top, and I want to help change that.

The research is disturbing. A recent report from Lean In and McKinsey points out, “Female leadership is an imperative for organizations that want to perform at the highest levels. Yet based on the slow rate of progress over the last three years, it will take twenty-five years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level and more than one hundred years in the C-suite.”

That’s unacceptable to me, and it should be unacceptable to all of you. So I took a look at the data and what I learned is far from what I had hoped was taking place.

Here are five factors that are standing in the way of women’s advancement:

1.) Women don’t want other women to succeed. Women who bully choose women targets 68% of the time. Why? Because women know only 2% of CEO’s, 5% of politicians, and 13% of C-Level positions are currently filled by women, and we believe these numbers represent ALL that is available for us. So, we have been fighting each other for these limited roles instead of asking for more of them.

2.) Women don’t support other women. Sadly, passive aggressive behaviors are part of a girl’s life by age nine. Gossiping, backstabbing, withholding information—we see our mothers do it, people on TV do it, everyone seems to be doing it, so we do it, too. There is a crucial lack of trust amongst women and it impedes progress for us all.

3.) Present-day systems were built by men for men. There’s no wonder why men living under a patriarchic social system succeed at higher rates than women. It is crucial we develop a fair system within the next 10 years. Why the deadline? Because equality is a core value for Millennials and they will be taking over the labor market soon. Organizations who want to stay in business better take notice and start to make changes immediately.

4.) We have been asking for equality for years now without results because we have not been clear enough about what we want. Equality does not mean “the same.” Equality means “the equivalent.” Equality for women means equal pay and equal opportunities. We are unique from men in many ways, most obviously because we bear children. Women have different needs, and therefore we need different support systems. Have a look at an article I wrote recently about the HOW of implementing equal pay.

5.) What is women leadership? There was no definition until The Women’s Code declared what these leadership attributes are. First, we need role models and education; role models to show us the way and education so we can be open to their lessons instead of tearing them to shreds. Recent research reveals diverse and gender-equal teams raise financial performance and team intelligence in organizations by anywhere from 50% to 66%. What are we waiting for?

Please share this data with your work teams, friends, and family. Awareness is the stage we are presently at and the ultimate goal is change. I am asking you to join the conversation that will finally give women equal footing in our workplaces.

If women leadership is a topic close to your heart, I’d love to connect with you. Get in touch!

At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”

Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.

If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.

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