The quality of leadership in the three most powerful nations in the world matters.
Not only do the United States of America, China and Russia govern 1.8 billion of the world’s 7 billion citizens, but their economic power and influence shape global growth and, increasingly human development, in many of the world’s nations.
With a new set of ambitious Global Goals to achieve by 2030, including ending poverty, preventable child deaths and malnutrition, the world will need its very best talent at the helm of governments, businesses, universities and civil society.
In this context, the results of the 2017 Motherhood+Public Power Index can only be described as deeply disturbing.
At this point in time, just 32 of the 480 most powerful positions in the USA, China and Russia are held by leaders who are also mothers. That’s a rate of 7%.
Mothers do slightly better in the USA, holding 20 of the top 160 jobs (12.5%), compared to mothers in China, who hold just 7 of the 160 most powerful positions (4%) and mothers in Russia, who hold a paltry 5 (3%).
This is in stark contrast to the proportion of top leaders who are also fathers – more than 95% in China and Russia, and almost 80% in the USA.
Of the four sectors measured by the Motherhood+Public Power Index, universities and governments perform best in promoting leaders who are also mothers into the top jobs. This is due to the larger number of top American universities led by women who are also mothers, and to the stronger representation of women in the USA, Chinese and Russian governments, relative to other sectors.
In contrast, the business and philanthropic sectors record the lowest representation of leaders who are also mothers. There are only 5 mothers among the top 80 CEOs and philanthropists in the USA, 4 in China and none in Russia.
The conclusion could not be clearer. Mothers are dramatically underrepresented in the halls of power in the USA, China and Russia, while fathers are dramatically overrepresented.
If the USA, China and Russia had the same proportion of mothers leading their most powerful institutions as they do in the population (40%), we would expect to see 44 more mothers in the top jobs in the United States, 57 more in China and 59 in Russia.
Since the Motherhood + Public Power Index was launched in 2015, there has been no progress in the proportion of women with children among the most powerful 160 American leaders.