Did you know that Utah lags the rest of the country in terms of the number of women in key leadership roles? That was the topic of June’s WBN luncheon, held on Thursday, June 19th at SCERA Park in Orem. Dr. Susan Madsen of UVU’s Woodbury School shared the findings of a recent major research project exploring women in leadership in Utah in four major areas: education, government, non-profit organizations and business.
According to Madsen’s research, Utah falls significantly behind national averages where women and leadership are concerned in three of four areas she analyzed. In discussing what she hoped would be the impact of her research, Dr. Madsen stated that “people do not change unless you make them uncomfortable.”
In addressing why businesses should change to incorporate more women in significant positions, she pointed to research showing that having more women in leadership roles makes good business sense. Studies show that having women on corporate boards helps companies strike better deals. Women also tend to be more holistic rather than linear thinkers. Some researchers also argue that having more women on boards help companies to better engage with society.
She recommended a few ways companies could promote having more women in leadership roles. Suggestions included providing or creating more mentoring opportunities for women so that they see and are prepared for leadership opportunities. Corporate leaders can also educate and encourage their current executives and board members to welcome change. For example, some firms have developed such policies as systematically considering at least one woman for every director opening and ensuring that the corporate board includes at least one woman member.
Dr. Madsen has formed a LinkedIn discussion group for Utah Women and Leadership. If WBN members are interested in joining, they can click on the link below. this link. Or they can access online copies of the briefs reporting her research here.