Why She Must Lead: Bridging the Gap between Women of Color and Opportunities presents a nuanced picture of the work culture in the 21st century. It is women empowerment articulated through a relatable narrative that stands out by focusing on a niche audience—immigrants and women of color who remain underrepresented in discussions surrounding women in the workplace.
Author Vasudha Sharma points out that while women of color might outnumber white women by 2060, there’s still a long way to go before they can reach the C-suite. Stats show that WOC in leadership roles remain sidelined across industries.
For instance, only 3 out of 38 female CEOs were acknowledged in the Fortune 500 companies list. Moreover, none of these women are Black or Latina. It goes to show how systematic racism sets female entrepreneurs back despite their best efforts.
Turning Her American Dream into a Reality
Kamala Harris called America “a country of opportunities” in her inaugural speech. Sharma considers the new VP-elect as the first of many changes in society.
As a first-generation immigrant, she hopes that this is the start of a significant change in WOC’s dialogue in leadership roles. She remembers the setbacks she faced when she arrived to America over a decade ago. The key to her success lies in advocacy for women of color taking charge of leadership positions.
She’s grateful for the headstrong women in her life for inspiring her to make a difference in the community. Now, she hopes to do the same in her personal and professional life. She wouldn’t have become a member of the Mayor’s Inclusion Task Force (ITF) or written columns for niche media published for the Indian population without it.
Sharma strives to advocate for WOC in leadership positions not only in Renton but across America. Her work at ITF gave her the courage to speak up for women in the community, especially those who struggle to break the status quo.
Sharma says that,
“(Women) have fought hard, not only to prove themselves time and again, but we are also constantly judging ourselves on our potential. (We do this) so much so that women sometimes put themselves at a disadvantage and they are not able to get to the positions they deserve,”
Women of color have become accustomed to rejections due to cultural and systematic bias. We chase a leadership gap that gets wider every day because discussions around women in the workplace don’t address the inequity surrounding WOC in leadership positions.
Sharma spent the past year researching data on gender disparity concerning women of color. She uses a combination of quantitative data and real-life examples to support her arguments for more representation.
Leading the Way for a Better Future
Unlike most women empowerment books, Why She Must Lead isn’t a how-to-guide on leadership. It focuses more on the journey of self-awareness and breaking barriers through active advocacy. She ends each chapter with self-reflection questions to foster a positive mindset amongst her readers.
Sharma hopes that these short exercises will change people’s perspectives on women in the workplace. Subsequently, encouraging women to take a stand and uplift peers.
Together we can overcome challenges and cultivate a workplace culture that facilitates the growth of WOC in leadership instead of inhibiting it. Sharma’s book is the roadmap towards a brighter future.
Why She Must Lead received a positive response after its release on Kindle and hardcover last year, it was listed as the No.1 bestseller in various categories on Amazon. It’s all set for the worldwide release in a paperback version on Dec 7, 2021.
Sharma invites all of you to embark on this journey as her manifesto reaches a bookstore near you.
You may visit the official website for a sneak peek of the book.