Project Management

The Increasing Influence of Women in Project Management

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During a group exercise in a recent project management class at a biotech firm, my main contact waved me over to ask a question. She noticed that women represented around 80% of the class participants and wondered if that's something I see at other clients. 

I told her it's absolutely a trend I've seen for years--increasingly so in the last decade. There are a few exceptions in some industries (e.g. construction) and the trend has not been as clear with some of my engagements outside the U.S., depending on the local culture. But I'm in-house at companies almost every weekday, and in just the last month, women have represented between 60%-75% of the participants in each of the sessions. 

Women are still in the minority of project management roles, but this is an encouraging leading indicator of what is to come.

What Is Driving The Trend?

Here's where my client and I went in our conversation, and where I'd love for you to share a comment with your thoughts. What do you think is driving the trend?

I'd love to hear what some of my favorite women in project management thought leaders think about this. What are some forces that are leading more women to pursue project management career paths? 

Also, for those of you who share my privilege of teaching and developing project managers, are you seeing similar trends? If so, what do you think is driving this?

Finally, for those of you who are in project leadership roles, are you seeing similar trends? Your insights would be helpful additions to the discussion as well.

Join the conversation by leaving a comment. I also invite you to share this with your colleagues to get their voices added to the discussion. Thank you!

Posted on: November 30, 2018 07:04 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Glenn Chundrlek Project Management Specialist| Miami University Loveland, Oh, USA
I'm seeing a trend of more women in overall leadership and management positions. I think that this is a good thing, as I believe that having a diversity in leadership can lead to more agility and adaptability in the organization. Of course there will continue to be sectors where due to the nature of the field there will be a preponderance of one gender or the other.

As for what's driving the trend, I would say that in the United States it's been that we've been seeing images and hearing stories of powerful and influential women for years, and it has become more accepted that women are just as smart and capable as men. This coincides with the trend of "stay at home Dads", and to me this is just as empowering for men as it is for women. I hope that this trend continues, as it gives everyone more of a sense that they are able to live their lives the way they see fit.

Cecilia Boggi Executive Director| activePMO Ciudad Autonoma De Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina
Hello Andy,
I'm glad to know you are noting that trend!
In Latin America we are far away from being that percentage.
I've been researching about women in PM participating in chapters in Latin America and we are only 30% in average.
I hope the trend you are talking about, arrive to our region soon!
Thanks for sharing!

Riyadh Salih Saskatchewan, Canada
Andy, managing a project in reality has no gender preference looking at many great female leaders who have managed nations and emperors throughout the history.

Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Andy, very interesting subject and points. I am noticing this trend too but like you said, not in all industries. Construction probably remains on top of the list in terms of the slow increase in the trend but, believe it or not, since two years, there is a noticeable increase in the number of women managing projects related to construction which is a great thing.

RAJESH K L Project Manager, PMP| Bharat Electronics, Bengaluru, India Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Thanks for sharing

Sante Delle-Vergini Senior Project Manager| Infosys Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Good post Andy, we need to watch this space over the coming years.

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