Monday, September 19, 2011

Women 3.0

How would you explain the fact (McKinsey) that:

Companies with three or more women in top-management positions achieve higher scores for each criterion of organizational effectiveness than do companies with no women at the top.

The business case for women has been made and heralded through and through. But…
Despite significant corporate commitment to the advancement of women’s careers, progress appears to have stalled. The percentage of women on boards and senior-executive teams remains stuck at around 15 percent in many countries, and just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women (Source).

The journey we have traveled so far is impressive. Just think of 1960s and take a look at these newspaper ads to get the idea where we started: I can't help myself posting one of those here:

If you don't recall the Women, Know Your Limits video, I urge you to watch it again before we continue the conversation:

Women 1.0: Set the ground rules
Getting policies and procedures in place was an important step: it ensures the legislative base and empowers people to stand up for their rights. Unfortunately, not always what is written becomes what is out there in reality. However, in most Western countries this hurdle is cleared. I make this "western" caveat, because if we look deeper into most Asian or African societies, there is a long way to go.

Women 2.0: Women buy in
It is tougher out there for women, no doubt about that (recall the Executive Women and the Myth of Having It All article), but the number of role models, success cases and female entrepreneurs is steadily growing:

What is really tough is the next step -

Women 3.0: The world buys in
This month McKinsey published their new think piece on this topic: Changing companies' minds about women:
The last generation of workplace innovations—policies to support women with young children, networks to help women navigate their careers, formal sponsorship programs to ensure professional development—broke down structural barriers holding women back. The next frontier is toppling invisible barriers: mind-sets widely held by managers, men and women alike, that are rarely acknowledged but block the way.

I believe that any problem can be solved if we look at it through the prism of communication: there is always either too much or too little of it. Advocacy, engagement and inquiry are nice big words but they are useless until you start putting meaning in them. Same goes for understanding, acceptance and ambassadorship.  Simply relating the message is not enough; that is one of the reasons why many good initiatives fail: the senior leaders, who are supposed to spearhead the initiatives, blurb out what has been written for them to say and forget about the whole thing as a bad dream. While it should be just vice versa.

Women 3.0 is not an unrealistic dream. Actually, it is more of a reality than you might think. Just like with the handicapped, LGBT, racial tension, age differences, etc.: all one needs to do is to see the point of view of the other.

1 comment:

  1.  In this post very nice information for business women. I really impress with your amazing post for each and every women.



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