When Women Support Women Incredible Things Happen

women leadership and empowerment

Women Leadership & Empowerment

We LOVE the new Ann Taylor Pants are Power video campaign launched in honor of Women’s History Month and how it pays tribute to powerful women in the workplace and beyond.

“The right pants are powerful—just like the women who wear them.”

Newly certified as a women-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), we share the sentiments behind the Pants are Power campaign and are proud to stand side by side with Ann Taylor in its commitment to honor, empower and advocate for all women.

The Time is Now.

The time for women to take charge of their own leadership is now.  More than ever, we women have great opportunities to advance ourselves by asserting (and owning) our own strengths and visions. Celebrating our own greatness is the fun part! But doing so doesn’t always come naturally to women. We often shortchange ourselves and our path to success by being less than our best selves; instead, we should reliably bring the voice and authority that comes from self-confidence in a way that optimizes our influence and impact. Yes, easier said than done.

But we can do it. When women are given the tools, support and opportunity to step forward, lead with and apply our strengths to contribute at the highest levels of leadership decision making, we drive an increase in performance and success.

In fact, the “Women on Boards” study completed by the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) concluded that companies in their index with strong female leadership outperformed those without by over 10% shown in return on equity.

Sadly, one of the hurdles we women have to overcome is the lack of support we’ve historically shown each other. The research is clear that women are oftentimes rivals rather than comrades. We don’t need to compete with each other. Instead, we can, and should look to rise by activating our power to help each other. That’s right, doing what comes most naturally to us as women — connecting to and supporting others — will increase our impact at work, not diminish it. Research shows that a focus on “giving”, rather than on “getting,” is powerful in advancing one’s own goals, and creates a win-win situation for women at all levels. Today, where there are increasing opportunities for women to find a path to leadership, supporting each other should become a consistent and deliberate practice.

In a recent Huffington Post article, Seth Price offers the following reasons why generosity of our skills and time will accelerate our success:

  • Helping others makes you a leader—True leaders are willing to support, teach and help others advance, find opportunities to showcase their skills, and look for ways to learn from them.
  • Activating your network—Helping others leads to opportunities. You send a message about what it means to be connected to you and your network. And, at the same time, you build relationships where your connections are more likely to reciprocate.
  • Growing—All your interactions have the potential to deliver personal and professional growth, and through your commitment to develop others, you grow in the process.

In recent years, the New York Times reported that there are fewer Fortune 500 CEOs who are women (4.1%) than who are named David (4.5%) or John (5.3%). That’s right, two male names each alone outnumber the total number of women at these highest levels. It’s not that dire at all levels.

According to Catalyst’s report on Women in the Workforce, in 2017, women held 51.6% of all management related occupations and 44.0% of the subcategory management, business, and financial operations occupations, with representation in management that is higher than it’s ever been. This is progress. We have made tremendous strides. But there is still a long way to go.

There is no better time than now.

As women leaders, we must support, develop, empower, mentor, and sponsor each other so that in turn, we can best support and empower ourselves. In the words of Julie Cogin, Academic Dean and Head of School at UQ Business School, “social change cannot be achieved by any one person acting alone. Together we must unite towards a larger movement for change. In my role, I want to empower and inspire women of all ages, backgrounds and interests to pursue their career dreams, no matter what obstacles they believe are in place.”

The time is now for women to work together to realize our shared success!