Feminomics - gender balanced leadership
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Feminomics - gender balanced leadership
New perspectives on leadership from a gender perspective - and its relevance to business, politics, economics, the environment and home.
Curated by Erika Watson
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The gender debate, at least, has had it all

The gender debate, at least, has had it all | Feminomics - gender balanced leadership | Scoop.it
My article about women and work has offered an unexpected litmus test on global gender equality...

When I wrote the cover article of the July-August issue of The Atlantic, titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, I expected a hostile reaction from many American career women of my generation and older and positive reactions from women aged roughly 25 to 35. I expected that many men of that younger generation would also have strong reactions, given how many of them are trying to figure out how to be with their children, support their wives’ careers and pursue their own plans.

I also expected to hear from business representatives about whether my proposed solutions – greater workplace flexibility, ending the culture of face-time and “time machismo” and allowing parents who have been out of the work force or working part-time to compete equally for top jobs once they re-enter – were feasible or utopian.

What I did not expect was the speed and scale of the reaction – almost a million readers within a week and far too many written responses and TV, radio and blog debates for me to follow – and its global scope. I have done interviews with journalists in Britain, Germany, Norway, India, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil; and articles about the piece have been published in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Bolivia, Jamaica, Vietnam, Israel, Lebanon and many other countries.

In many ways, reaction has been a litmus test of where individual countries are in their own evolution toward full equality for men and women. India and Britain, for example, have had strong women prime ministers but now grapple with the “woman-as-man” archetype of female success.

The Scandinavian countries know that women around the world look to them as pioneers of social and economic policies that enable women to be mothers and successful career professionals and that encourage and expect men to play an equal parenting role. But they are not producing as many women managers in the private sector as the United States is, much less at the top ranks.

The Germans are deeply conflicted. One major German magazine decided to frame my contribution to the debate as “career woman admits that it’s better to be home.” Another (more accurately) highlighted my emphasis on the need for deep social and economic change to allow women to have equal choices.

The French remain studiously aloof, even a little disdainful, as befits a nation that rejects “feminism” as an American creation and yet manages to produce a leader who is simultaneously as accomplished and elegant as Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. Of course, the example of her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and other stories about French male behaviour suggest that perhaps a bit more féminisme à la française is in order.

Japanese women lament how far they must still go in a relentlessly male and sexist culture. The Chinese now have a generation of educated, empowered young women who are not sure whether they want to marry at all.

Brazilian women point with pride to President Dilma Rousseff but also underscore how much discrimination remains. In Australia, with its robust work-life debate, women point to the success of Julia Gillard, the first woman prime minister, but note that she has no children.

The global debate demonstrates at least three important lessons. First, if “soft power” means exercising influence because “others want what you want,” as Joseph Nye puts it, then women the world over want what feminists in the United States and elsewhere began fighting for three generations ago.

Second, Americans have much to learn from other countries’ debates, laws and cultural norms. After all, women have ascended the political ladder faster in many other countries. The United States has never had a woman president, Senate majority leader, treasury secretary or defence secretary.

Finally, these are not “women’s issues,” but social and economic ones. Societies that discover how to use the education and talent of half their populations, while allowing women and their partners to invest in their families, will have a competitive edge in the global knowledge and innovation economy.

Of course, hundreds of millions of women around the world can only wish that they had the problems I wrote about. Worldwide, more than a billion women confront physical violence and overt gender discrimination in education, nutrition, health care and salaries.

Women’s rights are a global issue of the highest importance, and it is necessary to focus on the worst violations. Still, consider a recent report from a sober and respected American magazine. The National Journal observed that women working in Washington have come a long way, but “still face career barriers, and often the biggest one is having a family.”

If “having a family” is still a career barrier for women but not men, then that, too, is a matter of women’s rights (and thus of human rights). In the global debate about work, family and the promise of gender equality, no society is exempt.


Via Marion Chapsal
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French government backs gender quota legislation A vous, Messieurs les Anglais!

French government backs gender quota legislation A vous, Messieurs les Anglais! | Feminomics - gender balanced leadership | Scoop.it

The French government has become the first major EU member state to support European Commission proposals that will force listed firms to give 40% of their board positions to women.

According to a report in the Financial Times, French ministers have sent a two-page letter to the European Commission urging it to press ahead with the draft proposal.

Signed by French finance minister Pierre Moscovici and women’s rights minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the letter said: “The French authorities … resolutely support the logic of this draft directive.”

According to the FT, the letter continued: “It is important for the European Commission to present such a project quickly to the Council and the European Parliament, the latter having expressed itself, on several occasions in favour of a community initiative in this direction, including introducing quotas.”

Led by prime minister David Cameron and Business Secretary Vince Cable, the British government has been orchestrating a group of 9 EU countries who are against the draft proposal, which also plans to threaten firms with sanctions if they don’t comply.

The British government favours voluntary targets for businesses to improve gender balance, and is currently aiming for 25% female representation on FTSE boards by 2015.

In contrast the French government legislated with cross-party support in 2011, and large and listed firms in the country must give 20% of board roles to women by 2014 and 40% by 2017, bringing them into line with regulations adopted by Norway.

The EC draft proposal is being championed by Justice Minister Viviane Reding (pictured above), who recently said of The British government’s opposition: “Fortunately, European laws on such matters are not taken in meetings by 10 men in dark suits behind closed doors, but in an open, democratic process in which the democratically elected European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers have an equal say.”

The draft proposal is currently expected to be published in October or November


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Karli And Brooke's curator insight, February 11, 2015 9:07 PM

Europe Social- In the EU, the French government was the first to support board positions for the women.  Because of this, other countries of Europe are now supporting this and trying to have 25% of the women be in board positions.  France is taking the lead with 40% of their women with board positions.  This shows the social class of Europe because these are what the women are involved in.