By May “Mosaic” Advincula, Editor-in-chief

March 8th marked the centennial commemoration of International Women’s Day. This annual acknowledgement of women’s successes throughout the last century aims to celebrate women leaders of the present and inspire leaders of the future.

As noted on the 2011 International Women’s Day Web site, there has been a shift in attitude regarding women’s equality and emancipation. For the past century, there has been an increase in the number of women as leaders, but there still remains a disparity in how much women are paid in comparison to their male counterparts.

In the December 2010 issue of The Jade Times, contributing writer Huong Van addressed the earnings gap by providing insight to the art of negotiation in her article “Learn to negotiate and increase financial security.” She noted, “In the eye-opening book [Women Don’t Ask], I gained an understanding of where women stand in the workplace as a result of perpetuating circumstances and expectations in our society. Although we do not have much control over our marginalization, the authors provide tools and techniques to overcome common, yet oft overlooked or unrealized obstacles to provide more parity in the workplace.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

A disparity also exists in the number of women in leadership positions. For instance, women comprise approximately 51 percent of the U.S. population and recent statistics suggest that though women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, only 6 percent hold corporate CEO or high-level executive positions. Research conducted by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University also found that one key to career advancement for women might be determined by the gender makeup of the company’s corporate board.

According to David Matsa, assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School, “there are still institutional gender barriers in today’s workplace that prevent women from holding high-level executive positions.” However, the results from the study indicated that “women are each other’s best advocates and by helping one another they have the potential to make remarkable gains in today’s workforce.” For instance, as Matsa described, women who hold high level positions have an opportunity to propel female colleagues into executive roles.

Matsa noted a key importance in that “women are each other’s best advocates.” As we continue to make strides in bridging the gender gap, we must continue to support one another in each other’s efforts.  The basis of how we learn to be leaders can be acquired through taking the initiative to run for sorority positions as well as leadership positions on campus and in our communities. In addition, we can further that leadership experience post-graduation in which many sisters can utilize their skills to advance in their careers and other personal endeavors.

About International Women’s Day: