Dec 042013
 

American women are leaning in. We now earn more degrees, hold more managerial and professional positions, and in many cities earn more money than do men. And yet we still make up only 17 percent of the U.S. Congress, lead only 3.6 percent of the Fortune 500, and earn only 77 cents for the same work that earns men a whole fat dollar.

What’s up with that?

In this panel discussion from the 3% Conference, I humbly submit that women’s failure to bust through the glass ceiling is not for want of leaning in. Instead, it’s because many men are failing to relinquish the levers of power to their abler female counterparts.

And so the the time has come for women not to lean in more, but to lean on men, urging them to break the glass ceiling from the other side. To avoid messy accidents, men could also just open the doors and let us in, already, to the board rooms and corner offices they still control. Although women have made great strides across the economy, men still rule the upper echelons of our institutions. Without men’s help, women will never completely ascend to the heights for which we have repeatedly proven ourselves  qualified.

Don’t believe women are fit to lead? Well. All the more reason for you to watch this discussion, titled “How Women Lead.” In it, CEOs Daina Middleton (Performics), Dianne Wilkins (Critical Mass), Wendy Wallbridge (On Your Mark), and I talk with Kelli Robertson (Goodby, Silverstein and Partners) about the unique strengths of women leaders. And we’re not just talking out of our hats. We present compelling evidence and personal stories illustrating how women uniquely motivate employees, connect with markets, innovate solutions, and make the pie bigger for everyone (mmm…pie).

This panel discussion was part of one the coolest events I’ve attended this year: the 3% Conference, so named because only 3 percent of creative directors in advertising agencies are women–even though women make 85 % of all consumer purchases. Founded by creative director Kat Gordon (Maternal Instinct), the conference brings together men and women to discuss how to get more Mad Women into the marketing mix. It’s an annual extravaganza, so stay tuned to learn the where and when of next year’s event.