It looks to be a really good time for women in leadership positions. Hillary Clinton has just been confirmed as the Democratic Party nominee for President, the first female presidential candidate of one of the two major American parties. Theresa May has just become the second female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and, for the first time ever, appointed a cabinet with two of the four Great Offices of State held by women, and a female Lord Chancellor. Other countries with female leaders in 2016 include Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Poland.

However, let’s not go counting our chickens before they’ve hatched. Women may have got some top cabinet positions in the UK but only eight of the twenty-three cabinet members are women. A bit short of the 50% representation some people had speculated prior to May’s cabinet announcements. Not to mention only 452 women have been elected to the Commons since 1918, that’s still 5 fewer than the current number of male MPs.

Outside of politics it’s not looking too rosy for women either -  only 4% of CEOs in Standard & Poor’s 500 companies are women[1], 4.4% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs[2] (although, women make up 8% of the Fortune 100 CEOs[3]) and in Europe generally 89% of executive committee jobs are held by men[4]. Not to mention that it is predicted to be another 70 years before women are likely to achieve gender pay parity[5].

But why is this important? For a start, a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that of the 21,980 public companies around the world, companies where women filled 30% of leadership roles had a higher net profit margin[6]. With the gains of more representative leadership clear, the next step is implementation. Learning about how individual women have come to reach powerful positions in spite of the many challenges women still face in the workplace is vital to figuring out how best to ensure women are being valued equally to their male counterparts and allowed to thrive. However, all women are different, and the business and career path of one woman cannot tell us about the whole – it is important to develop a more nuanced explanation of what we know about women as leaders and about how they have led in different fields, in different parts of the world, and in past centuries.

With the aim of filling this gap, Berkshire Publishing Group’s Women and Leadership is a compact volume, including twenty-five biographies of women leaders in many domains, not only politics but education, fashion, sports, and social and environmental movements. Leadership is a longstanding preoccupation at Berkshire Publishing and Women and Leadership is the first in Berkshire’s Leadership Essentials series, a testament to how crucial the topic of women in leadership is to leadership more generally. Edited by George R. Goethals and Crystal L. Hoyt of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, this volume provides valuable research by experts on leadership theory as well as women’s history, equipping the reader to make more informed decisions about women’s leadership.
Women and Leadership
Women and Leadership

Concepts, History, and Case Studies
Edited by George R. Goethals & Crystal L. Hoyt
August 2016 | 9781614720324 | Paperback | 200pp
Leadership Essentials

Women and Leadership
is now available to pre-order.


[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2016/05/06/there-are-just-20-women-ceos-in-sp-500-companies-heres-how-much-they-make/#a282da4420fb
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women_CEOs_of_Fortune_500_companies
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women_CEOs_of_Fortune_500_companies
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/women-leadership-companies-equality-jobs
[5] https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2016/jun/09/forget-politics-its-business-that-needs-female-leaders
[6] https://piie.com/publications/wp/wp16-3.pdf