Few community-defined indicators exist to track progress in women’s leadership. The following discussion focuses primarily on women leaders in elected office, but women’s leadership takes many other forms: women are union leaders, business leaders, leaders of neighborhood groups and social and community-based organizations. A woman’s ability to take care of herself and her family, particularly in difficult economic times, is an indicator of leadership in and of itself. In future efforts to assess the status of local women and girls, attention needs to be paid to defining appropriate indicators and developing mechanisms to track “women in leadership.”
Women in Elected Office
The number of local women in elected office is increasing, but is still not proportionate to the population as a whole. In 2010, Monterey County women held roughly one-third (36%) of elected positions in local county offices, city councils and mayoral seats, school districts, and special districts (e.g., water, airport, hospital districts). This represents a gain over 26% in 2004 and 24% in 2008. (Source: Monterey County Elections, 2011)
Women appear to be well represented on school boards, and in executive positions in nonprofit health and human services organizations (though less so among nonprofits focusing on environmental and arts/cultural issues.) Anecdotal data suggests a significant proportion of women in middle management positions in public agencies.
PRIVATE SECTOR LEADERSHIP
In the private sector, women have been losing ground on the leadership front: Local women now hold a smaller share of management positions than in previous years (40% in 2009, compared to 43% in 2008 and 47% in 2004). (Source: American Community Survey, 2009)
Source: American Community Survey, 2009