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January 16, 20122011 saw mixed success in the progress of women. The excitement of seeing women as premier in four Canadian jurisdictions was balanced by the fact that the number of women at senior levels in Canadian businesses remains very low. But at least last year left plenty of room for improvement in 2012, so let’s get started!

Women in Charge? There’s Some Progress...

Canada’s political leadership includes more women than ever. Women are now premiers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Alberta, and British Columbia, and the 2011 federal election saw a record number of women elected to Parliament. Internationally, women like International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are examples of women stepping up to the top jobs. But will the progress of women in public life be repeated in the private sector?

READ: "Women in Charge, in Canada and Abroad" by Nicholas Van Praet, Financial Post, December 26, 2011.

...And Some Progress is Still Needed

A study published in early 2012 indicates that only one woman is on the list of the 100 highest paid Canadian CEOs. Maybe we can at least double or triple this number in 2012?

READ: "Only One Woman Among 100 Highest Paid CEOs in Canada" by Dana Flavelle, The Star, January 2, 2012.

Hope Springs Eternal!

Catalyst President and CEO Ilene Lang is one of the people who are hopeful that 2012 will see a growth in the number of women in senior business leadership positions. Will women’s issues emerge in the U.S. election debate?

READ: "High Hopes 2012 Will Be a Good Year for Women" by Luista Lopez Terregrosa, New York Times, January 10, 2012.

Will Networking Help?

Your network of friends and associates can have a powerful impact on your career. I have a job I love because someone saw an opportunity, thought of me, and made the suggestion. Other women have equally positive stories, but do we need to become more strategic in our networking?

READ: "The Serendipitous Side of Networking" by Leah Eichler, The Globe and Mail, January 6, 2012.