Dean's Blog: Women’s Leadership Institute is Helping to Shape the Next Generation

September 19, 2018 - Dean Rachel Croson



If the United States is to survive and thrive as a country, we need to identify, train and encourage the most talented individuals to assume leadership positions; in government, in the private sector and in the non-profit arena. Decades of research has demonstrated that this talent is equally likely to be found in men and in women. Yet much of this talent remains untapped. Women make up about 20% of Congress (Rutgers, 2018), about 5% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (Abadi, 2018), and about 30% of University Presidents (Moody, 2018).

While there is undoubtedly explicit discrimination, many researchers point to early socialization as a core cause of this discrepancy. Girls in matriarchal societies are significantly more competitive than boys, for example, and more competitive than girls in patriarchal societies. And within patriarchal societies, women who seek to lead often face backlash, which can deter them from pursuing or accepting leadership positions.

In the College of Social Science, a group of alumnae leaders want to help the next generation of women learn how to be leaders. Led by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and funded by these outstanding alums, our Women’s Leadership Institute brings together female leaders and current MSU students to learn leadership skills and address challenges they are likely to face in their forthcoming careers. Through a combination of training, mentoring and individual support, this activity is aimed at enabling these young women to realize their potential, for the benefit of themselves, their families, their organizations, our nation and the world.

I hope you can attend our next event, held September 25th at the Wharton Center. It features women who have held roles at the top of such companies like McDonalds and Coca Cola. You can find more information and register here.

If you want to learn more about women in leadership, especially from the national competitiveness perspective, here are some useful links:

Together, we can work to bring more equality and higher performance to the workplace and beyond.


Sincerely yours,

Dean Rachel T.A. Croson