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More Women Have Business Degrees Than Men, But Women Represent Only 15% of All Government Leadership Positions

Since 2001, almost half of all law degrees in this country have been earned by women. They outnumber men in undergraduate business degrees, represent a third of medical school students, and hold more than half (52 percent) of all professional jobs. But when it comes to leadership roles in government and on corporate boards, their numbers are small, just 15 percent.

One would think this number would be higher since there have been far more women attending college than men since 1988. But the truth is that only 10-20 percent of top leadership positions are filled by women.

Why the number is so low

There are many reasons for the disparity between women attending college and pursuing degrees in key areas, and the number of women who achieve leadership positions in these same areas. There are struggles with meeting the demands of family and career that results in about a third of successful women leaving their jobs to spend more time at home. Then there are changes in society that create more and more demands on the time that all professionals, including women, are now required to spend at work in order to "make it."

Why it is important for women to succeed

When women are not given the opportunity to succeed, it adds to the stigma that women are not qualified and cannot succeed. In addition, more women in roles that affect our government and economy is critical to addressing women's issues. Why did Obama secure so many female votes? Because he addressed issues that were important to women, such as abortion and violence against women. Having women in leadership positions in politics and other positions of power in society is important to give women a voice in the world. Further, women in leadership roles serve as excellent role models for other women and girls.

As Hillary Clinton expressed it, "We know that when women participate fully in their governments and economies, they and their families benefit, but so do their communities, their countries, and even the world as a whole."