JACKSON, Miss .(WJTV) – March is recognized in the United States as Women’s History Month.

According to TollFreeForwarding and Michelle Starr, the author of Be Brown Brave: Guide to Supporting Women of All Color in the Workplace, women represent nearly 60% of the U.S. workforce. However, only 35% of women are in leadership positions.

In the last decade, research found that the percentage of women in leadership has only risen by 2%.

According to the research, the state of Mississippi is one of the least likely states to have female leaders with 40% of women in leadership roles in the workplace.

“The reasons women leaders are stepping away from their companies are telling,” said Starr. “Women leaders are just as ambitious as men, but at many companies, they face headwinds that signal it will be harder to advance.”

Many of women have advocated the importance of owning opportunities in leadership within the workforce for decades. Starr believes women should embrace their inner gifts.

“Be confident and assertive in the workplace,” said Starr. “I encourage women to speak up and to make their voices heard even in the face of resistance or pushback.”