Equality in Our Lifetime?

Here I am getting ready for the second day of the Vision 2020 Conversation about Women and Leadership. Yesterday Rosemary Greco, Vision 2020 co-chair, said, "Democracy is not sustainable without full equality" and full equality seems far from reach. Most of us know the stats, I can pretty much summarize them as Geena Davis (actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)  did last night - on average, women hold 17% of leadership positions across all sectors.

Yesterday we were in conversation with an amazing collection of women and men in business, finance, law, education, health and media. From conversation each of the delegates from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia will take action to advance women's equality in advance of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

To get involved, find your state's delegates and reach out to take action to advance women's equality.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.  Follow her on Twitter.

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Imagine Leading Women Expanding in India!

Here's our entry into British Airways Faces of Opportunity competition. Please vote for us here (you can vote once a day until 10/29):


As effective as virtual meeting platforms are, there is nothing like face to face meetings to launch our Leading Women affiliate in India.

We have selected Radhika and Girija to be our affiliate presidents there. Both are accomplished young women with solid business education and a passion for entrepreneurship. Their goal is to build a thriving local affiliate by powering the success of other women in business and helping organizations advance women into leadership.

At Leading Women our founding vision has been to become the global go-to-resource for women who are serious about their careers and companies that are serious about advancing women. Our award-winning business has over 5000 members in the U.S. and counts dozens of FORTUNE 500 and other companies as our partners. Expansion into other countries, including India, is a key component of our business plan.

Face to face meetings with Girija and Radhika will accelerate that expansion. Meeting in the same room enables faster onboarding with our business model, quicker launch of their services, more efficient training on our platform and materials, earlier attainment of their financial goals and the nurturing of the personal relationships that make our business thrive.

The World Economic Forum has found a strong correlation between gender equality and a country's prosperity and economic competitiveness. For Radhika and Girija the opportunity to support India's continued growth by supporting the careers of women is a dream.

You can help them launch their careers as Leading Women affiliate presidents. Your vote will enable them to inspire, power and honor the success of women leaders in their home country and enable Leading Women to continue to advance women from career-start to the C-suite and onto corporate boards.

BUSINESS TIP: Use this definition of leadership to set up your daily activities and to measure your effectiveness at the end - "Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others." Susan L. Colantuono, CEO & Founder Leading Women

Make sure you step into every day on the platform of your strengths, that you maintain focus on important business outcomes and that you are engaging and aligning the right people in your strategic network - whether they are employees down the hall or customers around the globe.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.  Follow her on Twitter.

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US in Top 20: WEF 2010 Gender Gap Report

The World Economic Forum's 2010 Gender Gap Report is out. The U.S. has made it into the top 20 countries for the first time ever.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2010
Published 12 October 2010
Nordic countries Iceland (1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Sweden (4) continue to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010.
According to the report’s index, the level of gender equality in France (46) has sunk as the number of women in ministerial positions has fallen over the past 12 months. The United States (19) closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. The climb reflects the higher number of women in leading roles in the current administration and improvements in the wage gap.
"The 2010 report brings together five years worth of data. We find that out of the 114 countries covered over this time period 86% have narrowed their gender gaps, while 14% are regressing"
Saadia Zahidi, Director and Head of Constituents, World Economic Forum
Watch the video on YouTube
October 2010 - 2 min 29 sec

"The World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report shows a strong correlation between gender equality and a country's prosperity and economic competitiveness. It should be an indispensable reference for anyone who wants to advance economic, social and political progress worldwide or understand one of the critical reasons why some countries progress and others do not. I find the Gender Gap Report invaluable."
Melanne Verveer, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues

"The Global Gender Gap Report highlights serious gender inequities that need to be rectified. But just as important, it shines a light on the squandered resources that result from our failure to leverage female human capital. The report's message is one that businesses must heed -- not just out of fairness but because companies are wasting talents and skills that can generate significant competitive advantage."
Vineet Nayar, Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies

"As the working-age population continues to shrink around the world, the mismatch between where talent is available and where it is needed will inevitably worsen. Solving this conundrum is not easy and means considering untapped and underleveraged talent pools. Unfortunately, women remain chronically underrepresented in the workforce, as diversity of thought, perspective and background creates an energy in organizations that in turn translate into more profitable businesses."
Jeffrey Joerres, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Manpower

More Women = Better Decisons!

In a surprising twist when analyzing a study on collective intelligence, researchers found that
"...the number of women in a group had significant predictive power. “We didn’t design this study to focus on the gender effect,” Malone said. “That was a surprise to us.” One implication is that the level of collective intelligence should keep rising along with the proportion of women in a group. To be sure, as Malone said, that gender effect is a generalization. “Of course some males have more social skill or social sensitivity than females,” Malone acknowledged. “What our results indicate is that people with social skills are good for a group — whether they are male or female.”
 There has been controversy about whether diverse groups are more effective than homogenous groups - diverse groups tend to have more conflict, but this study seems to put that issue to rest.
"“We did not know if groups would show a general cognitive ability across tasks,” said Thomas W. Malone, the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, one of the authors of the paper. “But we found that there is a general effectiveness, a group collective intelligence, which predicts a group’s performance in a lot of situations.”

That effectiveness, the researchers believe, stems from how well the group works together. Groups whose members had higher levels of “social sensitivity” — the willingness of the group to let all its members take turns and apply their skills to a given challenge — were more collectively intelligent. “Social sensitivity has to do with how well group members perceive each other’s emotions,” said Malone. “In groups where one person dominated, the group was less intelligent than in groups where the conversational turns were more evenly distributed.” Teams containing more women demonstrated greater social sensitivity and in turn collective intelligence, compared to teams containing fewer women.

When ‘groupthink’ is good

To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers conducted two studies in which 699 people were placed in groups of two to five and worked on tasks that ranged from visual puzzles to negotiations, brainstorming, games and complex rule-based design assignments. The researchers concluded that a group’s collective intelligence accounted for about 30 to 40 percent of the variation in performance.

Moreover, the researchers found that the performances of groups were not primarily due to the individual abilities of the group members."
Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.  Follow her on Twitter.

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Thank You FORTUNE!

This year, FORTUNE's Most Powerful Women conference ran virtually thanks to Unisfair.com and so from the comfort of my office, between calls, I was able to listen and watch to women who are among the most powerful in the country.

I've been searching for videos of those who spoke and here are some you will be able to watch. The entire conference is supposed to be up "on demand" but isn't yet.
  • Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State a wide-ranging look at the ways the U.S. is using foreign policy to increase opportunities for women and girls here and globally.
  • President Barack Obama who speaks about the important women in his life and administration, his grandmother's glass ceiling, the CEO partnership to bring science and math education to girls called "Change the Equation" and more.
Among the many other clips I hope to share with you are those of
  • Ursula Burns, CEO Xerox
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO Dupont
  • Patricia Woertz, CEO Archer Daniels Midland
 Why? Because the more exposure we have to these virtual role models who have made it to the highest levels in business, the more we benefit from the lessons we can learn about how they got there, how they manage being there, how they view the world and how they speak about business.

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls.  Follow her on Twitter.

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