The Many Challenges Faced by Women in Leadership

There are many challenges faced by women in leadership. Despite its strides toward diversity and inclusion, Corporate America remains a challenging labyrinth to navigate for women. Women in general. Women of color in particular. And women who aspire to leadership roles, the C-suite, and the boardroom. 

There’s no doubt that we have made significant progress over the past few decades. But gender disparities are stubborn, impacting both earnings and opportunities for the women who show up every day and give 100%. 

This is especially true of minority women. Did you know that only 10% of Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm? The numbers are even more dire for women of color, who hold only one percent of CEO positions across the Fortune 1000. 

While these numbers may seem discouraging, especially as we celebrate Women’s History Month, there’s another way to look at it. By highlighting the need for more equity and greater representation in leadership positions, I hope to INSPIRE you. Take action, prepare yourself, and we can all get there faster. 

Here are some ways we can do that. 


If you get there first, be a beacon. Make sure it’s known. Sing it from the rooftops. Blast it out on LinkedIn, and seek out interviews with the local media and industry publications. It’s easier to dream about success when we see someone who looks like us in the role we aspire to. 

Right now, only a mighty few are breaking through the glass ceiling, so if you break it – shatter it beyond repair! Diverse role models are so important to our youth and to women who are just setting out on their career journeys and figuring out who they want to be. Be the person they can look up to. 

Mentorship is Key

Remember that labyrinth we talked about? How much easier would it be to navigate if you had someone to lead the way? Women in the corporate world can find tremendous value in having a mentor to offer guidance, share their experiences, and advise on how to handle sticky situations.

And don’t discount your own experience and the invaluable insights you can offer. If you have a few years under your belt, you can be a lifeline for someone trying to find their way. If you have or had a great mentor, pay it forward: help another woman gain confidence and find her footing. 

Mentorship can accelerate your professional development while fostering a sense of camaraderie among women in the workplace – something we can all benefit from.

By creating a culture of support, mentorship helps break down barriers and empowers the next generation of female leaders. Bonus: this all leads to a more inclusive corporate environment.

Community and the Power of Female Circles

Women, more than their male counterparts, often thrive best when there is a sense of community in the workplace. By connecting with like-minded individuals, we can establish our own support system. Networking events, women’s ERGs, and even online communities allow women to share experiences, exchange advice, and foster a sense of belonging. 

Research suggests that women who surround themselves with a supportive network of other females are more likely to earn higher salaries and experience faster career advancement. If you’re looking for a safe space to celebrate success and troubleshoot problems, you may need to create one.

Bring together mentors and mentees, host a coffee and conversations event for the office, or bring your network together for an evening out. Female circles can be deeply powerful, surrounding all parties with a collaborative atmosphere where women uplift each other and thereby achieve greater collective success.

Women’s History in Corporate America

It doesn’t take a historian to tell us that women have come a long way in the workplace. And it doesn’t take a DEI consultant to tell us that we have a long way to go. Use Women’s History Month and the knowledge of disparities in leadership positions held by women and by women of color and let it be a call to action.

What can you do today to get closer to one of those leadership roles? What can you do today to help someone else advance? How can you support other women in the workplace and create a female circle that empowers all? Those are the questions. I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Lisa L. Baker - Certified Personal, Career, Success and Life Coach

Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.

Ready to G.R.O.W.?