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Nonprofit Sector: Too Few Women in Leadership Roles

A seminar to encourage women to take on leadership roles in nonprofit organizations comes to Bloomington in October. (
A seminar to encourage women to take on leadership roles in nonprofit organizations comes to Bloomington in October. (
September 29, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — More and more workers are being drawn to the nonprofit sector, and their advocates say a support system is needed, because it often isn't a "9 to 5" job.

A full-day symposium for women interested in nonprofit leadership is coming up on October 28 in Bloomington. Jillian Henry, regional director at the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network, said people usually work for a nonprofit because they're passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, and they soon realize the job isn't easy.

"You know, so many in the nonprofit sector are working in really hard mission areas, and sometimes the toll that takes on them personally is difficult,” Henry said. "And so, how do we inspire more people to lead in the nonprofit sector and to stay in the sector, to where we have stronger communities?"

This fourth annual symposium will include 20 sessions exploring the topics of personal development, leadership, management, fundraising and communication. The first pre-registration deadline is this week.

Henry said the symposium is open to all, but the focus is on women - with a special emphasis on leadership.

"There are more women working in nonprofits than men, really a strong majority of women are in the staff roles,” Henry explained. "However, there is still a disparity of women leaders, even in the nonprofit sector - especially on boards of directors and in executive director or CEO positions."

Nonprofits often fill the gap for people who don't get enough help from government social-service programs and agencies, Henry said. And they fill plenty of other needs not covered by the private or public sector.

"Also in that mix are the arts, and environmental causes and animal rights, and all of those things that help us to create a vibrant community,” she said. "You better bet that there's a nonprofit behind so many of those different missions."

Conference information is on the Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network's website, at

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN