Two Trinity Women are among “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” according to Forbes Magazine. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62 (#26 on the list) and Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black ’66 (#94) join such notables as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (#1), U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (#4) and Wu Xialing of the People’s Bank of China (#18).
Congratulations to Nancy and Cathie!
Several articles that accompany the Forbes List discuss women’s progress in attaining leadership positions in government and business around the world. The list includes 29 political leaders and 66 business executives, as well as a handful of entertainers, journalists and independent achievers.
Forbes acknowledges that while women are making progress in many places, barriers remain for all too many women. In data that Forbes cites from Catalyst (an organization that tracks women in corporate management) women hold only 15.6% of 10,000 corporate officer positions in the Fortune 500. Women have a long way to go in corporate leadership. The Washington Business Journal recently published a list of the 200 top executives of public companies in the Washington region ranked by total compensation. Only one woman was on the list of 200 names.
A sidebar article on political women notes that the 14% proportion of women in the United States Congress pales in comparison to other nations (Afghanistan has 17%). The writer notes that, “Moreover, U.S. Sen. and former first lady Hillary Clinton (No. 25) may make history by winning the Democratic presidential nomination. But will she make history again by winning the presidency? Clinton might have had a better shot at it if she were born in England, Germany, India, Pakistan or Israel.”
Surely, someday, a woman will be president of the United States. Surely, someday, this discussion will truly be ancient history. But today, in early 21st Century America, the drive for women’s equality and respect for women’s leadership at the highest levels of business and government continues to be an elusive goal. While a few notable women have achieved hard-won success in securing top positions, blazing trails for rising generations, the revolution is far from over.
As I read the marvelous, moving essays of Trinity’s newest generation of young women in the Class of 2011 (excerpts published on our website, see “I Am the Artist of My Life…The Director of My Future”) I find renewed affirmation of the importance of Trinity’s mission in educating and advancing women leaders for our world. The “100 Most Powerful Women” lists provide great role models for the rising generations, and incentive for future leaders to plot their trajectories onto those lists years hence. Having great Trinity Women like Nancy Pelosi and Cathie Black on those lists makes everyone at Trinity so proud, especially our students, and makes that kind of achievement seem more possible because our alumnae sisters are leading the way. Onward!