When it comes to leadership positions in Eastern Missouri, women are significantly underrepresented. According to available data, women only make up 17% of elected seats in local and municipal governments in the state. When it comes to designated local boards and commissions, the number is even lower, with women occupying only 22% of available positions. This is despite the fact that women make up 51% of the population.
When it comes to certain bodies, the numbers are even more concerning. Women represent only 15% of the seats on adjustment boards and 19% of the planning and zoning boards. These boards are responsible for making recommendations to elected officials on important issues such as infrastructure, land use, and public safety. The lack of female representation in these positions means that key voices are missing from the important decisions that affect us all.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that men find it easier to hold the highest leadership positions. Democratic men and women are quite united in their views on this matter, while there is a considerable gender gap between Republicans. Two-thirds of Republican women say it's easier for men to get the highest positions in business, compared to 45% of Republican men. Among Democrats, 77% of men and 81% of women hold this view. The patterns are similar for political leadership.
Women hold leadership positions in 32 state senates and 33 state chambers; in 7 states, women hold no leadership positions in any of the chambers. And while approximately six out of ten women say that gender discrimination is a major obstacle to female leadership in each of these areas, a smaller proportion of men say this is the case in the business world (44%) or in politics (36%). Similarly, women are more likely than men to say that women in high political positions are better at maintaining a tone of citizenship and respect (41% versus 27%).When asked if certain personal traits or characteristics would especially help or harm men and women seeking success in business or politics, approximately seven out of ten adults say that being assertive and ambitious would above all improve a man's chances in both areas. Two-thirds of women say that having more women leaders would improve men's quality of life at least a little, compared to 47% of men.
The survey also reveals that, to a large extent, Americans consider men and women to be equally capable when it comes to some key qualities and behaviors that are essential for leadership, even though the majority (57%) say that men and women in high positions in business and politics tend to have different leadership styles. With a margin of 42 to 4%, the public affirms that women in politics manage social problems such as education and health care better. Among people who see a difference, approximately one in four women (27%) say that women have a better approach, while 10% say that men are better. Missouri women deserve a much greater voice in formulating policies that affect their lives, particularly at the local level. Fortunately, several organizations in Missouri are working with women seeking opportunities for political leadership. Through the national organization Reflectus, these organizations can pool their resources to connect with significant numbers of women from all parts of Missouri. A much lower proportion indicates that there should be more women than there are now, but that there are still not as many women as men, or that women should outnumber men in these positions.
To date, they have trained hundreds of Missouri women who are ready and willing to assume political leadership roles. Approximately half (48%) say that men will continue to hold higher political positions in the future, even as more women run for public office, and a similar proportion (46%) say that men will continue to hold more high-level executive positions in companies, even as more women hold management positions. It is clear that there is still much work to be done when it comes to increasing female representation in leadership roles throughout Eastern Missouri. Organizations like Reflectus are doing their part by providing training and resources for aspiring female leaders. It is up to us as citizens to ensure that our voices are heard by supporting these organizations and advocating for greater female representation.