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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Increasing Females in Leadership Roles

Having recently viewed this ‘not so recent’ Ted Talk with Sheryl Sandberg, I realized the business world is not that different from that of public education. Over the last couple of decades, women in top leadership positions in California school districts has not come close to 50%. Yet, the numbers have been on the increase in the last few years….but only close to 39%, based on the most recent data I’ve seen. So what does that mean for our schools…and what does that mean for female leaders wanting to move up in organizations, needing ‘like’ role models? Or what does it mean for the female students in our classrooms who also need to see that glass ceiling is really just shiny saran wrap that can be easily broken through?

What Sandberg suggests in this video is not new information.

One rationale she shares has to do with Fortune 500 companies and how they see a lack of women making it to the top because they drop out along the way. I would agree that the women do not strive for top positions for many of the same reasons – balance of home and family, the politics, they are dissuaded along the way, they leave for the private sector. But she also talks about mentoring programs (few of which exist in public education beyond groups like CALSA’s Mentoring Program or Hermanas program), a lack of formal training programs, and a lack of flex time for balancing the needs of families.

Sandberg does provide some suggestions:

  • sit at the table

  • make your partner a partner

  • don’t leave before you leave

But there is so much more…so check out the video and see how your career might be visualized differently! We need more female leaders. In every area of business, including public education. As a former superintendent in the Portola Valley School District and interim superintendent in the Lakeside Joint School District, I resign myself to the reality that I need to be a nurturer of female leadership more and more each year to foster more female leaders!

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