Global Gender Gap UPdate: US DOWN

2009 and where does the US stand on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report?
"The United States (31) fell by three places, owing to minor drops in the participation of women in the economy and improvements in the scores of previously lower-ranking countries."
Ranked above the US are Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand (my personal dream destination) - none surprising. But these might raise a few eyebrows: Sri Lanka, the Phillipines and Lesotho. You can read the news release and download the entire report here.
“The Global Gender Gap Report demonstrates that closing the gender gap in all aspects of life provides a foundation for a prosperous and competitive society. Leaders should act in accordance with this finding as they rebuild their battered economies and set them on course for sustainable long-run growth,” said co-author Laura Tyson, Professor of Business Administration and Economics, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

“Countries that do not fully capitalize on one-half of their human resources run the risk of undermining their competitive potential. We hope to highlight the economic incentive behind empowering women, in addition to promoting equality as a basic human right,” said co-author Saadia Zahidi, Head of the Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme. Watch the interview."

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls (Dec 2009). She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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Work/Life Police?

Those who know me know I don't like the metaphor of work/life balance, but I DO like this ForbesWoman article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett about the actions of Joan Amble, an EVP, Corporate Comptroller at American Express.

Joan literally gave her staff their lives back:
  1. No email after 8:00pm
  2. Everyone leaving the office by 6:30
  3. No email on weekends
  4. Support for more efficient meetings
  5. and more
Good for her!

And, if you're interested ForbesWoman's Top 10 Unwritten Rules for Working Women take a look here. It's actually more of a list of subtle barriers that we encounter (related to the prior posting on the impact of attitudes towards women), but the article is illuminating nevertheless. For example:
"Men are bred for self-confidence. From Little League to fraternities to the golf course, men's lives emphasize competition. By the time they get to the workplace, they are seasoned competitors, with all of the self-confidence that comes from having successfully weathered both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Consider the consequences: One internal corporate study showed that women will apply for an open job only if they meet 100% of the criteria listed, while men will apply if they meet just 60%. In order to assume that same level of self-possession (and entitlement), you have to design your own path to self-confidence.

Women are rendered invisible until they demonstrate otherwise. If you want to be noticed, you've got to offer your ideas, approach a mentor, ask for the assignments, build a network, convey your aspirations and communicate your achievements. I've heard Sharon Allen, chairman of Deloitte LLP, tell this cautionary tale from her early career, when she was passed over for a promotion that she had earned. Allen asked why she had been passed over, since she had done X, Y and Z to earn it. "Oh," her boss replied, "I didn't realize that you'd done X, Y and Z ." It's one thing to lose the game because you were outperformed, but it's another thing altogether to lose because you were never in play."
Francesca Donner continues to do important work at ForbesWoman. Take a look and sign up for RSS feeds or news by email.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls (Dec 2009). She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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Eyes Opening - a New Look at Women's Advancement

As one of the "shrill, women's lib" generation I often bemoan the glacially slow progress that women are making. To explain it, I speak of the Missing 33%. This has two meanings. When it comes to leadership (as I write in my new book No Ceiling, No Walls) the Missing 33% is 1/3 of the leadership success equation that women don't often hear about and as a result too often max out below the glass ceiling.

But there's another Missing 33% when it comes to women's advancement. Advancement rests on a foundation of:
  1. Women having what it takes.
  2. Organizations removing institutional barriers - policies, practices, etc. (e.g. one oil company I know had to stop having meetings at country clubs that excluded women and minorities)
  3. Examination of stereotypes held by decision-makers
For the past 30 years, companies have done a pretty good job at the first two...and a dismally worsening job at the last.

During the 70s, men's stereotypes about women (and ours about ourselves) were openly examined, but in subsequent decades we've pretended that all the work was done. Meanwhile conservative talk radio (and others) grabbed the ears of our young men and women and filled them with the worst of mysoginistic stereotypes (I used to eavesdrop on my son's radio choices driving him to school). So no only has it been not okay to talk about stereotypes, they've been raising their ugly heads unchallenged.

Today, I read an op-ed piece from the New York Times. In it, Joanne Lipman owns up to her generation's contribution to this problem:

"And then it struck me: Part of the reason we’ve lost our way, part of the reason my generation became complacent, is that many of us have been defining progress for women too narrowly. We’ve focused primarily on numbers at the expense of attitudes.

I’ve spent my adult life in business journalism, where we calculate success using hard facts and figures. Researchers have evaluated women’s progress the same way. But in today’s noisy world, that approach isn’t enough. We’ve got to include popular perceptions in the equation as well. Progress in one area without the other is no progress at all."

As important as are the numbers, the attitudes need tending. Let's all open our eyes and confront the negative stereotypes we hold about ourselves and that men hold about us... and let's leverage the positive.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls (Dec 2009). She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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A Smorgasbord of News

Finishing my new book No Ceiling, No Walls has kept me too busy to blog (hey, that's an interesting title for something), so there's a ton of news to report.

Having a woman heading PR for Cadillac has turned women into social media promoters of the car. Looks like Cadillac has figured out that women are an untapped market. Read more here.

One of the aspects of leadership is using your personal greatness...and one of the components of personal greatness is the alignment of what you say your values are and how you behave. I love what Sallie Krawchek told a conference room of women MBAs about this. When faced with a difficult situation she asks herself:
"not what I think I should do, but what the person I want to be should do - what she would do."
Sallie is the former chair and chief executive of Smith Barney and later chief financial officer at Citi and chief executive of Citi's global wealth management.

Recently a woman told me she thought she'd like to move into academia - she thought it was a more benevolent culture for women. Heidi Brown of Forbes puts that idea to rest in this article about women college presidents. 23% of college presidents are women (happily up from 10% in 1986). 64% of men have tenure - another significant disparity. This reminds me of research done on women in academic medicine that found that women really do have to work twice as hard as men to advance on the academic ladder - more publications, more funding brought in, more years on each step.

We all know that Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both faced sexism during last year's presidential campaign. In Massachusetts, the subtlety of sexism is playing out in the battle for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. As reported by Joan Vennochi in
Therese Murray... looks for sexism under every political rock and finds it in every criticism of a female candidate.

“You have all these little code words; now it’s cautious,’’ said Murray, complaining about a word used by Representative Michael Capuano, one of Coakley’s challengers.

Sure, there are code words used to undercut women in business and politics, and often they are contradictory. A woman is too soft or too tough, too provocative or too frumpy, too young or too old, too single or too married.

How can Coakley be too “cautious’’ if she is also too “ambitious,’’ as suggested by Stephen E. Smith, one of Ted Kennedy’s nephews?

“It made me want to throw my BlackBerry,’’ said Ellen R. Malcolm, president and founder of EMILY’s List.

As Malcolm points out, “There are four candidates, and every single one is ambitious. . . . It is a code word in the sense that it is considered a bad thing for a woman.’’

Forbes' look at CEO compensation differences between women and men reminds us that although some of the women CEOs make significant income, the wage gap exists even at the top of companies. For example Lynn Elsenhans...
"was paid $2.2 million last year by $37 billion refiner Sunoco ( SUN - news - people ). Bruce Smith, head of refining concern Tesoro ( TSO - news - people ), which had sales of $20 billion in 2008, took home $18.6 million."
On the other hand, Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of TJX (think Marshalls and TJMaxx) makes nearly as much as Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE..

Fawn Germer wrote an excellent piece on Huff Post about the wallop women MBAs have taken during the great recession - they've been fired at more than 3 times the rate of male MBAs.
"Corporate leaders, who are mostly male, are turning back toward the tried-and-true. It’s not that they are saying, “Let’s freeze out the women and the blacks and the gays so us white boys can handle things.” They’re saying, “Who can help with this?” And they look around and see who’s around them, and well, it’s mostly white men.

“They are thinking, ‘Who do I work with? Who do I golf with? Who do I have a relationship with?’ While women have done a good job of cracking into it, they haven’t fully done it yet,” said McGurl, now president of Sutton Place HR Consulting Group. “I don’t think anyone is out there thinking, ‘I’m going to whack all these women."

But women are getting whacked."

25 Most Influential Women in Banking courtesy of the WSJ.

If you've been reading the Leading Women blog for a while you know that having women at the top makes a significant positive impact on the advancement of women in the company. Now, having a First Lady willing to speak out through the gender lens might benefit women in the country. As reported in MS Magazine.
" Obama referenced studies showing that women are more likely than men to hold part-time or small business jobs that do not provide health insurance and that women who do have health insurance are often charged more than men. "A recent study showed that 25-year-old women are charged up to 45 percent more for insurance than 25-year-old men for the exact same coverage. And as the age goes up, you get to 40, that disparity increases to 48 percent," Obama stated, according to the White House transcript. She noted that this disparity is especially troublesome considering that women still earn less than men on average."
Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls (Dec 2009). She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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