The leadership of today looks very different than in years past. Today’s leadership is much more diverse and includes women, cultures from across the world and various demographic groups, which represents an important shift from our past. However, according to Sheryl Sandberg, of 190 heads of state across the world, only 9 are women; of all representatives in parliament across the world, only 13% are women; solely 20% of the heads of not-for-profit organizations are women; and, only 15-16% of women make it to the top of their professions in the corporate sector as CEO and Board members. Furthermore, these numbers have been relatively stagnant since 2002. With acknowledgement of the above statistics, academic institutions play a fundamental role in supporting and encouraging diversity, including gender diversity. This is particularly so for the Business Masters’ Office as we develop, inspire and prepare students, female and male, to assume influential leadership roles in society.
Locally, the Alberta Government has created a Status of Women Ministry, whose mandate it is to lead the Government’s work to improve gender equality in Alberta. In addition, the City of Edmonton is leading the ‘Women’s Initiative’ whose goal it is to foster and promote equality, opportunity, access to services, justice and inclusion for women in Edmonton. These are two examples of forward-thinking local public bodies that are seeking to enact change for the betterment of women.
At the University of Alberta, there are more female than male students represented in our undergraduate programs. However, only 1/3rd of all applications made to the MBA program are from women. Ultimately, we would like to play our part in expanding opportunities for women around the world by increasing the number of applications made from women to the MBA program.