True gender equality means fighting for not only equal pay for equal work, but also equal representation in leadership positions in government, the military, and the private sector. In the United States, women make up less than 25% of elected officials, only 5.2% of CEOs, and 16% of executive teams. These numbers do not add up considering women make up 51% of the population and 46% of the workforce. Especially when you consider the studies that show women are often rated by their bosses, direct reports, and associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the higher the ratings.
So why do women make up such a small proportion of leadership when their abilities compare favorably to those of men?
Women’s civic engagement, like jury duty or military service, while welcomed, has been historically seen as non-essential. The old argument was, “Women need to be protected,” or, “They have more important things to do, like raising children.” As a country, we must do all we can to encourage women’s participation and leadership in the public sector.
We need women—their participation, their management, their perspectives, and their communication—in every aspect of leadership, management, and government.
It is time we stop siloing women in human resources and customer service. Women excel in every arena when given the opportunity. The drive to prove one’s ability pushes both women and men to succeed in nontraditional roles. We need to do all we can to break down the systemic barriers that create an environment where it’s much tougher for women to succeed.
The first systemic barrier is money in politics. Right now we operate in a fundamentally anti-woman marketplace and that includes the marketplace for politicians. We need to establish public campaign financing because it encourages more non-traditional, female, and minority candidates to run. We are already seeing this play out in Maine and Connecticut where women have been running in record numbers, bolstered by public financing. My Democracy Dollars plan will give every voter $100 that can only be donated to campaigns every cycle, and it will supercharge grassroots funding to make running for public office more accessible.
Beyond promoting the representation of women in elected office, we must take decisive action to support those women who protect our country overseas. We cannot afford to damage our national security by minimizing female leadership in the military. Diversity in leadership, particularly gender diversity, allows for better dialogue and clearer decision-making among leaders. Increasing female leadership in the military is particularly important to maximize our national security readiness and develop stronger internal military policies of justly addressing instances of sexual harassment and assault.
Women have not only been historically excluded from top positions in the military, but also in the government and private sector at large. We must focus on hiring, appointing, and selecting people based on their capabilities and skill sets, not on who has historically filled the role. President Obama used this philosophy in nominating Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, who had no prior experience as a judge. As the first female Dean of Harvard Law School and first female Solicitor General of the United States, Justice Kagan has brought incredible experience to the Court and is often noted as an expert in building essential bridges between the Court’s conservative and liberal justices.
We also need to utilize the trickle-up economy to empower women in the workplace. A universal basic income of $1,000 a month will help empower women to lead. When women consider starting their own businesses, running for office, or pursuing new educational opportunities, finances are a paramount concern. A guaranteed revenue stream will give women the capital they need to break down barriers and pursue entrepreneurship, elected office, and higher education. As the Freedom Dividend works from the bottom up to elevate women into leadership roles, we must also work to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of roles open to them.
While studies overwhelmingly show that businesses perform better when women are involved in leadership, female representation in leadership still remains low. To close this gap, I support laws modeled on legislation recently passed in California that require corporate boards of publicly traded companies to have at least one female member. This follows similar laws in Italy, France, Belgium, and Norway, that have successfully increased the presence of women in the workplace.
Increased representation will lead to improved business outcomes. Today, women-owned businesses account for 39% of private businesses, yet they receive less than 5% of federal contracts. To remedy this mismatch, the federal government can incentivize businesses to put women in leadership by requiring certain diversity standards for federal contracts and development grants.
Finally, imbalanced career advancements and the gender pay gap is not just a women’s issue, but it is particularly a mothers’ issue. Companies that offer only maternal leave and not paternal leave feed into the stereotype that only women are the caretakers who should take a step back from their career when they have kids. This also makes women more expensive as employees, which disincentivizes employers from hiring women regardless of whether they intend to have children. Federally mandated gender-neutral paid family leave and guaranteed childcare will help to equalize career opportunities and advancement for women, particularly mothers, in the workplace.
Our next President needs to recognize the need for increasing diversity in all levels of government and the private sector. I am committed to being that President.
Problems to be Solved
- checkWomen are deeply underrepresented in leadership positions across the public and private sector.
- checkOur government and private institutions lack gender-diverse leadership.
- checkOur economy hampers the ability of women, particularly mothers, to advance their careers.
- Our country is deeply misogynist and most all of us know that. The fact is, strong societies elect more female leaders. Strong men treat women well for the same reasons. I’m on the record saying that you need both strong male and female leaders in government because the fact is if you get too many men alone, and leave us alone for a while we kind of become morons.
- checkGender diversity in government and the private sector
- checkEnable men and women to access and pursue opportunities in every area independent of preconceptions
- checkEnsure women have a seat at every table
As President I will...
- Provide every American voter with $100 Democracy Dollars for each election cycle, a voucher that they can use to support candidates of their choosing.
- Commit to appointing women in top leadership positions in government and the military.
- Prioritize the skills and capability over typical traditional experience for judicial nominees, thereby prioritizing women and minorities for the federal bench.
- Implement a Freedom Dividend that empowers women to start businesses and further their education.
- Explore legislation similar to the California law that promotes women on corporate boards.
- Require certain diversity standards for federal contracts and development grants as a way to incentivize women in leadership.
- Implement a gender-neutral paid family leave federal mandate.