How empowering women can empower non-profits

The Leadership Gender Gap – Plaguing Non-Profits Too?

It’s well-established that a leadership team with a diversity of thinking patterns is stronger, better, and more successful. Building management teams comprised of people from diverse backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and experiences is the most direct way to get that “diversity leg up.” But despite the proven operating advantage, the majority of companies continue to lack diversity in upper-management roles.

Let’s focus on the diversity that women bring to leadership teams. The 2017 Fortune 500 CEO list contains 50% more women than the 2016 list. This rate increased the number of female CEOs featured on the list to an all-time high…of just 32. While a 50% increase sounds impressive, the fact remains that for every female CEO on this list, there are nearly 15 men to match, and this doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

As disappointing as these numbers and anecdotes continue to be, the disproportionate representation of women in tech and senior corporate roles is old news. However, what is surprising, is that women are also vastly underrepresented in leadership positions at nonprofit organizations – a sector with a majority female workforce and where the role of diversity has long been established.

The Gender Gap – Hurting Nonprofits?

A survey by the White House Project estimated that a whopping 73% of all nonprofit employees are female, yet women account for only 45% of nonprofit CEOs. That gap only widens in larger organizations – the same study found that just 21% of nonprofits with a budget of more than $25 million have a female CEO.

A lack of female leadership negatively impacts the nonprofit sector in the same tangible and unproductive way as it does in the commercial sector. The gender gap affects everything from an organization’s ability to recruit talent to its potential donor pool.

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