This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 3, 1998:

Tomorrow’s Leaders Will Be Women

A number of trends suggest that a greater proportion of tomorrow’s leaders will be women. Expect to see even more challenges to the "glass ceiling."

Children are socialized during their formative years by a society that differentiates between girls and boys. They’re treated differently; they have different expectations for behavior, dress, and the roles they play. The socialization of girls includes a heavy emphasis on nurturing and human interaction. This training prepares them, as adult women, to be more effective than the stereotypical male in building and maintaining caring human relationships. That strength is what’s needed by organizational leaders today. Today’s workers want to be nurtured, and it comes naturally for women, enabling them to move into significant roles.

Education will be important for tomorrow’s leaders. Increasing emphasis is being placed on college education, equating it to the importance in career development provided by a high school education a generation ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that young female graduates continue to be more likely than their male counterparts to enter colleges and universities—70.3 percent compared with 63.5 percent.

Sensitive to diversity issues, employers will look for opportunities to demonstrate that their management ranks are not dominated by white males. Women will provide a viable alternative in the process of recruiting diverse populations to leadership positions. While human resource professionals openly acknowledge their desire to place more blacks in management, this movement will be relatively more difficult from a higher education perspective. BLS statistics show that the likelihood of blacks going to college is 59.6 percent, as compared to white and Hispanic high school grads (67.5 percent and 65.5 percent, respectively).

An increasing number of women will start their own businesses. Women-owned corporations already employ approximately 25 percent of the workforce—more than all the workers employed by Fortune 500 companies.

The trend is clear: women will play increasingly stronger leadership roles in our society in the years ahead. Business leadership leads to community leadership and political leadership.

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