Yesterday, I came across this list of the 100 top management and leadership writers of our time.
The top 16 names are exclusively male.
Only one woman, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, made it under the top 40.
Including the latter, a total of four female experts made it under the top 50.
The whole list of top 100 speakers and writers in English language on the topics of management and leadership contains no more than 10 females.
Does it not sound familiar?
I am wondering what is the egg, and what the chicken here.
To which degree does this obvious male domination and definition of key leadership and management debates contribute to women's continuing struggle to be leaders among and as equals?
And to which extent does the reality of this struggle contribute to a wider public's preference for listening to male voices on the matter, or to the ranking criteria of lists like this itself?
How does the fact that 90% of the experts heard and recommended when it comes to questions of leadership and management contribute to the experience that the prevailing equation in many a head remains to the day: LEADER = MAN?
How does it inform our concepts and unconscious perceptions of leadership attributes and styles?
To which degree does it limit the perspectives we have on leadership and management?
Ultimately, how diverse and unbiased are our discussions about leadership if they are so much dominated by men?
If we want to achieve inclusive leadership, I believe we also need more women out there who rank under the top 100 experts on leadership and management.
To quote a successful woman leader at the recent Hongkong Women Extraordinnaire Forum on biased labels: "When I hear people say about me that I am bossy, I smile and reply: Well, you know, I AM the boss. As such, I better be boss-y!"