Research shows that women exaggerate the skills they need to succeed. For women entrepreneurs, that could be a problem.
As Jodi Glickman suggests in her recent HBR article, women focus on what they lack, not on what they have. And if women don’t have it all — everything that is required to do the job — they don’t apply for a job. By comparison, men with only half the qualifications asked for will present themselves as ideal candidates.
Women want to succeed, yet even when they do “all the right things” Catalyst has found that they earn less and progress more slowly than men. The fact that some women adjust their career advancement strategies after crashing into institutional barriers is a rational response to inhospitable workplaces. It is not an example of a lack of ambition.
My starting point is that it is a basic human right for women to enjoy full legal equality and equality of opportunity, and for a girl born today, in any country, to have the same life prospects as any boy. All our societies are the poorer if they fail to tap the full potential of half their population, and do not remove the obstacles which so often prevent women from rising to leadership positions in political systems and elsewhere. I do believe that having a critical mass of women in leadership and decision-making positions is positive for human development in all countries – whether developed or developing, and whether countries are living in peace, recovering from conflict, or in the process of a democratic transition.
I was there three years ago, a time of despond in Iceland, a country ruined by testosterone-crazed bankers, the first to succumb to full-on recession, the one that fell hardest of all. Tiny, desperate, broken Iceland (pop 320,000) presented, as we saw it back then in those tender early months of crisis, a vision of Armageddon for the big nations of western Europe. Yet now, today, there stands that spanking new building, a vision of opulence and modernity as striking as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, grandiosely out of place in this nordic Lilliput of brightly painted fishermen's houses
One among many examples of leadership based on both masculine (tough-love marine) and feminine (caring, nurturing, empathy) values.
Women don't have the monopoly of the Feminine Archetype!
Larry O'Toole says Gentle Giant Moving is a people and leadership development company providing high-end customer service.
Larry O'Toole understands that when customers are difficult, it's often because they are going through something really hard. So the employees of his moving company learn not only how to pack trucks but also how to unpack the contents of the human heart. "You don't know what kind of stress someone is dealing with," says O'Toole, an Irish immigrant who is imposing of stature and soft of speech. "Diagnosed with a terrible illness. Death in the family. Divorce. You have to be able to read your customer. You see what they need, and you give it to them."
This is no glass ceiling. It's a gender preference that starts relatively early in careers — and then continues. And this reality is not visible enough, nor even acknowledged inside companies. For most managers, there are 'more' women than there used to be, so all is improving naturally, right?
But if companies actually believed all the data showing a correlation between gender balance and financial performance, we shouldn't really need quotas at this point. That, of course, is the rub. They don't really believe it, or buy it. That is the work that still remains to be done. And one of the quickest ways to get there would be getting financial investors — like the New York pension fund — to convince them that THEY think it's important.
Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a general security of information agreement with her Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja on Wednesday. She also praised Finland's role in the promotion of women's rights.
“Finland always wins hands down when it comes to my personal tally of the number of women actual participating in international conferences.”
A double bind can be easily explained with the old adage: ”You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. Sexism and sexist gender socialization create many double binds for girls and women. Gender expectations for girls and women are lengthy, detailed, and impossible. In order to be a “good” woman, one must possess most, if not all of the following “feminine” qualities
The social "voice lessons" are built around rigid gender roles that leave women with very little room to navigate expectations while maintaining authenticity. If we break one of these rules, we are automatically labeled and stereotyped.
Let me make one thing very clear: I’m not trying to typecast genders or suggest one superior to the other. There are plenty of women operating in the Male Model, while increasingly, men are embracing the Feminine Formula.
What I am describing is an emerging paradigm shift, allowing both men and women the freedom to choose between the historical norm and what’s becoming a clear, increasingly preferred, leadership style. And we have women to thank for this shift.
“Today the old style command-and-control leadership has given way to a new approach to leadership.” says leadership expert David Gergen, a Harvard professor and former advisor to four presidents, in his introduction to Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership.
“When we describe that new leadership, we employ terms like consensual, web-based, caring, inclusive, open, transparent—all qualities that we associate with the ‘feminine’ style of leadership.”
Already known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to gender balance, Sweden is now pioneering gender-neutrality with the addition of a new personal pronoun to the online version of its National Encyclopedia. The word, “hen,” can be used in place of either “han” (he) or “hon” (she).
I think it’s hard, really hard, to change that mindset. We were raised to be Don Drapers, Alpha males, casually, uncritically entitled to a gender order that is vertical, hierarchical. And now we feel we have to be more Al Gore-esque Beta-males, oriented to equality, horizontally.
But change we shall - and not just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also in our interests to embrace gender equality. The empirical evidence is clear: at the corporate level, those companies that embrace diversity and enable everyone (including white men) to feel included and valued have lower rates of absenteeism and job turnover, and higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity. And personally, the more equal our relationships, the happier and healthier everyone will be.
Women are leaving the workforce in droves in favor of being at home. Not to be a homemaker, but as job-making entrepreneurs.
Female-focused incubators and events like the ones offered by Women 2.0 and Ladies Who Launch help women entrepreneurs to build out networks, gain confidence, and learn from successful women. While these events can be highly valuable I caution women to avoid falling into the female-only trap when it comes to business education and seeking guidance and mentorship, especially mentorship.
I believe a female equivalent to the “old boy’s club” is essential for women to help each other grow and edify the next generation of women leaders but I’ve also experienced the value of working with both male and female advisors and mentors. Learning from successful entrepreneurs with different perspectives and experiences help you become a more dynamic and agile business owner.
The resonance of Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic article is testimony to how far we've come since 1987, when I began talking about work and family in my Wharton School classes. Back then, many students — men and women — flat-out resented it.
When she was asked by Harvard Business School’s Antony J. Mayo and Mayuka Yamazaki why she brought men in her once all-female company, she said:
“How about if we put some men in here?” The managers said, “No, thank you, we don’t need any of those creatures.” But we did need them. A branch happened to hire a man as a part-timer, and wow, did sales increase! That was the turning point. The trick was achieving the right mix of men and women. We now have 60% women. But I wish there were more women in top positions. In Japan, the child care industry is inadequate, so women with children must stay home, and that makes it hard to change the ratio.”
One of my favorite line from this extraordinary woman is, when at the end of the HBR interview, she is asked:
“Were the obstacles you faced in starting a business greater because you are a woman?”
“People often ask me that. My answer is “How would I know? I have never been a man.”
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