“Technology jobs are predicted to grow at a faster rate than all other jobs in the professional sector, up to 22% over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation is also good. In 2008, women in tech made an average salary of $70,370. … But women’s stake in that rosy outlook is questionable. For starters, men’s pay during the same time period was $80,357. A study by the National Center for Women and Information Technology … also finds that women are leaving computer careers in staggering numbers. ‘Fifty-six percent of women in technology companies leave their organizations at the mid-level point, 10-20 years in their careers,’ said Catherine Ashcraft, the senior research scientist who authored the report. In 2008, women held only 25% of all professional IT-related jobs, down from 36% in 1991, according to the group’s report, ‘Women in IT: The Facts.’”
There is an evident need for women in leadership positions, and the lack of it in society. According to a study conducted at Northwestern University on “Transformational, Transactional and Laissez Faire Leadership Styles: a Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men,” women can be the more effective than men as leaders due to their “transformational” leadership style. The authors define this leadership style as those who “serve as role models, mentor and empower workers and encourage innovation even when the organization they lead is generally successful” (Eagly et al, 2003). The results of the study demonstrate the great need of women to act as leaders in society through their ability to nurture and cultivate greater talent in those they lead and serve.
Female leaders can rise to the top as they embrace their own strengths as women and maintain a leadership style that is embedded in their individuality. This is what will draw others near, inspire, and motivate. It will also require society to respect women for the strengths they posses, just as Kagan illustrates.
Gender equality has been proved to have solid economic benefits. Research conducted by both Catalyst and McKinsey & Company (PDF link) demonstrates that companies with significant numbers of women in management have a much higher return on investment than companies that lag on this front. In addition, a study from London Business School shows that when work teams are split 50-50 between men and women, productivity goes up. Gender balance, the research argues, counters groupthink — the tendency of homogenous groups to staunchly defend wrong-headed ideas because everyone in the group thinks the same way.