When General Motors announced that Mary Barra would be the first female CEO of a Big Three automaker this week, there was much excitement. But wait. No, there’s nothing to be excited about, right? We’re supposed to be not so excited, because boys and girls are the exact same so what’s the big deal? No big deal.
YOU GUYS, IT’S A BIG DEAL.
Yes, men and women should be entirely interchangeable in the halls of power in global corporations, but right now (and at no point in human history preceding it) that has not been the case. Despite the fact that companies with greater female representation on their executive leadership teams have quantifiably higher ROI, the percentage of female CEO is only 14% globally (up from 9%!). Reminder, women make up more than 50% of all humans, so that’s pretty abysmal.
Women in power means more diversity corporations, which means less groupthink and more sanity. It’s important for young girls to have these role models, and it’s important for a world that is controlled by an only slightly less homogenous class of rule makers and gatekeepers than it was a century ago.
As a woman, I appreciate that urge to pretend like it’s not a big deal that Mary Barra is a woman. I know it comes from a place of political correctness and the desire to be living in a genderless power utopia. But we’re not there yet. And until we are, Mary Barra’s new job is exciting. Marissa Mayer is exciting. Sheryl Sandberg is exciting. And come 2016, I think we all know who else is going to be exciting. So go ahead. Express some celebratory interjections. Count this as the progress that it is. And get used to it, because as we have every right to keep it going until all things are truly equal, it looks like this party is going to be raging awhile.