I recently sat next to a gentleman at a dinner party who told me that he supported women’s rights but felt the pendulum had swung too far. In particular, he noted, men were no longer provided hard-earned opportunities in leadership positions. “That’s interesting,” I responded, “because statistics tell a different story.”
In fact, the numbers are dismal. More than 30% of boards across Canada don’t have a single female board member and women account for less than 17% of corporate board positions. In federal politics, only 25% of MPs are women and, in the provinces and territories, only 28% of elected officials are female.
More than 30% of boards across Canada don’t have a single female board member and women account for less than 17% of corporate board positions.
Around Canada’s most significant decision-making tables, women are still drastically underrepresented. At G(irls)20, we believe that investing in young women will create a pipeline of exceptional leaders for the boardroom, the political arena, and the civil society sector. In order to address this representation gap, we developed Girls on Boards, an innovative project where young women are provided with governance training, mentorship, and an unparalleled opportunity to participate as members of a non-profit board. As a board member, young women from across Canada are supported in developing their leadership skills while building their capacity to govern an effective organization.
This International Women’s Day, we will celebrate the women leaders who are paving the way for future generations but we will not stop there — we’ll keep pushing until the statistics reflect Canada’s diverse population. And I’ll continue to explain at dinner parties that the pendulum has not swung far enough — not even close.
Heather Barnabe is the CEO of G(irls)20.