Fox News Correspondent Talks Election And Diversity

Fox News Correspondent

Talks Election And Diversity

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“I’m going to go on record right now, I don’t think it’s going to be a close election,” says Lauren Leader-Chivée, Co-Founder and CEO of All In Together. “Because despite the rhetoric, it is not who we are.”

Leader-Chivée, a political correspondent who dedicated her life working to close gender and racial gaps in business and politics, believes Hillary’s win will usher in a new female-focused perspective in our government.

“Two years ago [I said to] Chelsea Clinton ‘it’s time, and she said ‘it’s way past the time,” says the author of Crossing the Thinnest Line. “I am so convinced that women are essential to our political process.”

Leader-Chivée, a lifelong democrat who is often featured on FOX and CNN, says the 2016 election is more about differences in leadership than differences in policies.

“We have a major diversity problem.”

“I spend a lot of time on Conservative media and have been on a lot of shows with women who support Trump,” she says. “What we are seeing play out in this election is the whole new fundamental question of what is leadership. And you see the same thing happening in business. Is leadership this command and control, powerful personality that [believes] ‘I alone can solve this,’ or is it a more inclusive collaborative, considering of other people’s perspectives, stereotypically female kind of leadership? That is really in many ways what we are voting on.”

Something that many may not realize is the great power women have in the outcomes of political races, says Leader-Chivée.

“Women have turned every election in this country since 1980,” she says. “We are the majority of the electorate and we are in fact more likely to turn out to vote than men.”

But, as with all the news surrounding gender and race that she covers in her book, there’s a flip side.

“The United States is 74th in the world for the political empowerment and participation of women, and we have fallen 20 places since 2015. Countries like Afghanistan, Tunisia, South Africa and Rwanda are all ahead of us in terms of their political representation of women and that has nothing to do with whether we elect a woman in this election”

For Leader-Chivée, social media has played an undeniable role in this election, but isn’t necessarily reflective of society’s political choices.

“This election has been like a funhouse mirror,” she says. “It has presented a warped view of who we are as a country. The extreme discrimination bias that has been so amplified by Twitter and the media in this election is not representative of who we are, but because of the great equalizing power of social media platforms it starts to seem like it is.”

She adds, “little did I know that this election would bring on one of the most venomous and difficult periods in our national conversation about this. It has certainly not elevated it.”

“This election has been like a funhouse mirror”

Part of the unspoken issue behind the negative election is the lack of women in roles of power, and the lack of comfort when they do step up into top spots.

“In the corporate world, something like 22 million women with college degrees at big companies are hitting a wall because there is still a great deal of bias in the promotion process and while women do extremely well in the early years, as they become more senior you start to hit the intangibles of what people see as leadership.”

© Ron Rinaldi Photography www.ronrinaldi.com

This disparity happens, in part because senior-level men are not investing as directly in women’s careers, helping them move forward.

“Even though women are as ambitions as men, they are often opting out from the pursuit of some of the senior most jobs in part because it doesn’t seem appealing to them,” she says. “Even men and women who have equal performance reviews, the men are more likely to get promoted at senior levels.”

When it comes to entrepreneurs, the “massive funding gap,” is one of the biggest road blocks in terms of launching new businesses.

“About four percent of VC money goes to women-owned business,” she says. “Women struggle with access to capital. Part of why you see so many women entering entrepreneurship is because they’re hitting a wall in the workplace. If you don’t see a path for yourself in a corporation you are more likely to want to define your own destiny and set it up, but that’s not a super easy road either.”

Of course, media is another problem.

“Media is one of the biggest reasons for the fact that women feel stunted when it comes to taking leadership roles, as 98 percent of executives at major media companies are white men,” she says. “We have a major diversity problem among those who decide what we see,” she said, adding that the commentators and hosts are hugely skewed. “It’s still overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white.”

According to Leader-Chivée, who is the mother of two African American children, she wrote her book after witnessing the change in the diversity conversation in the country.

“I was prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the explosion of videos and conversation surrounding racial issues,” she says. “I had a sense that we were at a moment in the country, that the conversation around diversity had hit a point where we were faced with a choice; Are we going to spend the rest of our lifetimes rehashing the same fights, battles and breakdowns in understanding or is there a path to doing better?”

America will become minority/majority nation in our lifetimes, which is another reason a change is needed.

“The implications of that are profound,” says Leader-Chivée, who reveals that a run for office is potentially in her future. “I felt we hadn’t had a meaningful enough national conversation in my lifetime about the importance of diversity to our economy, to the social fabric of our nation, and to our identity as American.”

For the full interview on our podcast, click Here.

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Belisa Silva

Belisa is an editor with more than 10 years of experience. Prior to SWAAY, she worked as freelance writer, covering lifestyle, fashion and beauty industries. Belisa was a Market Editor at Women's Wear Daily for five years, where she interviewed rockstar business women like Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez and Iman. Belisa also contributes to Cosmetic Executive Women, where she highlights female executives making an impact in the beauty industry.

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