Women in the workforce are moving the needle in almost every industry, from tech innovation to education and many more. Unfortunately, women have rarely been given a chance to lead for the majority of human history. But in recent decades, women have climbed through the ranks in corporate America, proving they can be successful entrepreneurs and savvy in all aspects of business and investing, among other achievements.
And while the glass ceiling has not been fully shattered yet, women are poised to play an even bigger role in the future. Between 2015 and 2020, the share of women in Senior Vice President roles grew from 23% to 28%. Likewise, the share in all C-Suite roles rose from 17% to 21%.
And while women – and especially minority women – remain dramatically underrepresented, the numbers are creeping upward. One great benefit of the positive movement is that women often look for ways to pay it forward when they succeed. They give back to the community in ways that support the next generation of women and girls.
Women have a long history of building better communities. They are more empathetic to causes that matter to them. And women who struggled but made it to the top against all odds often care about the challenges younger women in the same place face. Nearly all – 86% – of women report wishing they could do more to make a difference. So, it’s no surprise that successful women are a strong philanthropic force.
Furthermore, women are naturally nurturing and caring, which often translates to providing help to others. Helping others adds value and brings meaning to one’s life. When you feel like you’re making a difference and having an impact on changing the things that are wrong in the world or your community, it brings positivity to your life. It inspires future generations, teaches, and models the right thing to do for our children. It brings joy to our lives. All of this supports an optimistic view of the world, which is good for our emotional well-being and overall health, which may explain why so many women are motivated to give back to the community after achieving success.
For instance, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, has given more than $280 million to charity as of 2018 – a figure that is surely higher now. And minority women are no exception. Independent Advisor Patricia Hamzahee has accumulated wealth for over two decades by working in banking and finance. She is also the trustee of several charities, a donor, and an investor who focuses on supporting the Black community and Black-owned and led organizations.
Furthermore, when it comes to women of color who succeed in life, some say it’s even more critical that they play a role in helping to uplift other children in their communities so that they have hope as well.
Even Dr. Toinette Gun, Executive Director of Chicago Debates, shared, “When Black girls and children have an opportunity to see Black women leaders or have access to them, it’s a game-changing experience. It is inspiring and gives them something to aspire to. When they see people who look like them in positions of leadership, they can more easily see themselves in those roles. It gives them more to dream about. It feeds drive and ambition. It fuels creativity and goals. It’s transformative.”
Interestingly, Dr. Gunn is a first-generation college student whose life today has been overwhelmingly influenced by her college education. Dr. Gunn firmly believes in the power that education holds in developing the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
There are numerous ways for women in leadership to inspire the next generation. Women can do simple things like using their platform to share insights about their personal challenges and how they overcame them. They can use their leadership position and experiences to create opportunities for girls and women to lead and strengthen their skills by offering internships and scholarships. They can become a mentor to encourage and motivate younger women and girls. They can donate their time and talent to social impact organizations targeting women and girls.
But making a positive impact in the community isn’t the only benefit of women supporting other women. There are many other benefits.
- It brings out the best side of you. Part of the human survival instinct is to help others. This trait usually comes out during natural disasters, but we shouldn’t wait for an emergency to show off our best traits.
- It’s rewarding. We’ve all heard that giving is better than receiving – and it’s true. Giving activates positive endorphins in the brain, which can improve overall happiness.
- You are making a difference. With many things in life, it’s hard to tell how much of a difference you make in the community or world. But when you help other women succeed, you can touch – and even change – the life path of all these women, ushering in a new generation where women are acknowledged for their talents.
- Collectively, women can accomplish amazing things. Women have never been welcomed into the old boys’ club that existed across all industries. But as more women succeed, there’s a new club in town. And collectively, women in leadership who band together can transform the world.
There is no denying that women who aspire to great leadership roles have a challenging path ahead of them. And it’s even harder for minority women. But women who achieve this goal are in a key position to influence others and help usher in a new generation of female leaders.
Women helping other women is one of the best ways to make it easier to pass the torch to young female leaders. And the benefits of increasing the number of women leaders are tremendous. It can be great for business and make a difference in the communities and world we live in.