Is growing the number of women in leadership a question of design?

pantene-ad General Motors and The Kennedy Center have made history this week.

Mary Barra was named CEO of General Motors, making her the first female CEO not only at GM but in the entire industry. The Kennedy Center announced the same day that Deborah Rutter would step in as president -- the first woman to hold the position. But a report by the non-profit research firm Catalyst finds that, while the number of women in chief executive roles continues to grow, they still continue to trail their male counterparts.

As The Washington Post's Lillian Cunningham reports, Catalyst found that "women currently hold less than 15 percent of senior positions among the Fortune 500, a number that hasn’t significantly changed over the past four years."

Meanwhile, an ad from Pantene Philippines could be seen as outlining the story behind those numbers. An ad for the company made by Manila-based BBDO Guerrero features numerous stereotypes women face in the workplace relative to men. Where a man may be seen as the "boss", a woman may be seen as "bossy" or where a man is seen as "persuasive" a woman is perceived as "pushy", and so on. Here's the ad, which was published to YouTube in early November:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI

The video is striking in that it uses relatively subtle shifts to highlight very stark contrasts between how men and women are perceived both inside and outside of the workplace. Perhaps there are other ways to design messaging around gender and leadership that could grow the number of women in leadership positions. Then again, it may be worth going outside of the ad framework entirely.

So, here's the question: If you were to take on the challenge of growing the number of women in leadership roles, how would you go about it? Where would you start in the design thinking process? Which industry would you take on? Would you take on the challenge industry-by-industry or go another way?