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How Is San Antonio Addressing The Leadership Gender Gap?

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Women are much less likely than men to be in leadership positions. The leadership gender gap is pervasive in fields including but not limited to politics, education, business and technology.

Why are women underrepresented in leadership positions? 

Women only hold 38 percent of the seats available on city boards and commissions in San Antonio, according to District 5 City Council representative Shirley Gonzalez.

"Council members rely on their appointees to provide a cross section of experiences, perspectives, skills and knowledge," she said in a statement. "The gender equity gap results in a loss of talent, points of view, and the intelligence and energy that fuel smart decisions."

Gonzalez filed a second council consideration request addressing gender equity earlier this month on Equal Pay Day. National data shows that as of 2016, women employed full-time made 20 percent less than their male counterparts, on average. 

In the field of education administration, there is only one woman working as a public school superintendent in Bexar County: Fort Sam Houston ISD's Gail Siller. Less than 25 percent of Texas' school superintendents are women.

Technology is a fast-growing sector in San Antonio and surrounding areas. In Bexar County, women with computer, engineering and science jobs made an average of 15.4 percent less than men, according to 2016 American Community Survey data. 

What makes a good leader? Does gender matter? What are the biggest challenges women leaders face?

How do gender dynamics vary in different industries? What factors affect the ability of women to achieve promotion to higher levels of leadership? How have things changed in the past decades?

What needs to be done to support women who are aiming to be leaders in their fields? 


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.