What difference will it make to the business world if a woman becomes president? "To women in business, it will be monumental," says Kristi Faulkner, president of Womenkind, the go-to strategic marketing-to-women agency on Madison Avenue. "But the impact it will have on how women are perceived in our culture is even greater.
For the last 8 years, Womenkind has helped leading brands strengthen their relationships with women through insightful, creative campaigns. They have extensive knowledge of the authentic needs, desires, and preferences of the world's most powerful consumer. The women-owned firm is driven by a mission to correct the inequities for women and girls in media, in marketing, and in business.
Here are 8 ways Womenkind sees business evolving when a woman finally breaks through the ultimate glass ceiling.
1. A woman president will definitively prove to the corporate world that women are capable of leading. Numerous studies have shown that companies with more women in leadership outperform those with fewer women--in productivity, share price, and revenue. Even still, in the Fortune 1000 women make up about 5% of CEOs and hold only 19% of boards seats. When a woman is managing the national economy, the federal government, and the greatest military force in the world, there will be no reason to question if a woman can manage a company profitably.
2. More career women will unleash their ambition. Surveys have shown that women express greater ambition when they work for a female CEO. Seeing a woman in the top role shifts the power paradigm and inspires women to make the climb themselves. "A generation of women will benefit by seeing a woman leading the country for 4 years," says Faulkner. "Once they wield their power, nothing will stop them."
3. Business will accelerate the move towards diversity. A woman president will invite more diversity into cabinet leadership and the political process, which will foster new voices, new perspectives, and a new way of doing things more quickly than the current pace of change. The sooner equality and diversity become the norm in our work culture, the quicker the business environment will improve- from family leave benefits, to job satisfaction, to innovation.
4. An all-new stereotype will emerge and proliferate. Let's face it, stereotypes will never go away--the human brain is wired for pattern recognition. However, regular images of a woman president will imprint on our collective psyche a fresh and positive stereotype that culture can embrace: The most powerful person on earth is feminine.
5. Advertisers will realize that if a woman can be president, she can drive a car, invest money, and even drink a beer, too. "It's hard to image a president dancing with a mop in the White House or rushing out of the Oval Office to get dinner on the table," says Faulkner. "Won't it be great for society when it becomes unacceptable for mass media to depict women as anything but intelligent, talented, and as multi-faceted as they really are?"
6. Men will no longer be the default setting. In American business culture, mass means men. When terms like "mass-media," "mass-marketing," and "mass appeal" are used, it's code for "guys." A woman leader will reset the expectation that men are the most important audience. It's necessary for any business to understand who its target really is.
7. We'll see the end of "women's empowerment" marketing messages. The idea that women lack power, need power, and need a brand's help getting power is absurd. While the world is in dire need of more positive media images, the women's empowerment campaigns marketers create to push product have a subtext of negativity and perpetuate insecurity. "Sorry, Brand X, your shampoo, your maxi-pad, and your paper towels do not empower me," says Faulkner.
8. Women will be one step closer to equal pay. A woman president will be paid the same as the man who proceeds her. "What's a better beacon of equal pay for equal work than that?" says Faulkner.
There's not a woman or man in business who would disagree.