Tag Archives: women

Images of female role models empower and inspire women leaders, says study

22 Apr

Who’d have thought that looking at a photo of a powerful female role model, like Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel, could inspire women to become more successful leaders. But a new study – Successful female leaders empower women’s behaviour in leadership tasks – shows that exposure to female role models can improve women’s performance in leadership tasks.

Men and women were asked to give a speech while being exposed to a photo of Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton or not picture. The speeches were measured in terms of length and quality. Women spoke longer (and were there perceived to give a better speech) when they were exposed to the photo of Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel. But they spoke less, and their speeches were rated to be of lower quality, when Bill Clinton or no picture was shown.

The researchers concluded: “Subtle exposures to highly successful female leaders inspired women’s behavior and self-evaluations in stressful leadership tasks.”

Whose face would inspire and empower you when you have to make a stressful speech…?


Science shows woman have more empathy and intuition than men

6 Feb

While female intuition is renowned, scientists are proving a factual basis to it. Woman are much faster than men at reading people’s facial expressions, and can quickly work out if someone is approachable or intelligent. Men take twice as long as women to read people’s faces.

That’s according to a study carried out by Edinburgh University published in the journal PLOS One. Its scientific experiments of brain function when making social decisions found that “differences in the functioning of the social brain between males and females [could] contribute to the greater vulnerability of males to Autism Spectrum Disorders”.

The fact the male brain takes longer to make these judgements and so need more time to come up with the answers – which can be problematic when needing to make snap decisions in real life.

Who believes women should sob their way to the top?

2 Jun
womaneer crying at work

Does crying at work make you more authentic? (pic: istockphoto.com/Chepko)

Lesson one of getting ahead at work, I’ve always believed, is to leave your personal life outside on the pavement and let a professional persona enter the workplace and lead the day. Never once have I believed that I should fall victim to my emotions and blub my heart out when things get too much for me.

That’s why I admit to feeling shocked when I read about Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in a speech to Harvard Business School graduates telling women that it was OK to cry at work. What? Wear my heart on your sleeve? Let a career-limiting tear cascade down my managerial cheek? Won’t people think I’m hormonal, incompetent or out of control?

What Ms Sandberg said was this: “I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”

What are the different perspectives on this? Continue reading

‘Positive action’ to encourage more women to become judges

11 May

The Ministry of Justice is removing the obstacles for more women and ethnic minorities to become judges.

Rules will change to allow senior judges to work part time, so they can balance work and family lives. And the appointment process will encourage ‘positive action’. However the Ministry of Justice was keen to specify that this wouldn’t mean that  women and minorities would be given preferential treatment. The talent pool will be widened, and people will still be appointed on merit – however, if two candidates are equal in all other measures, the final selection will be “on the basis of improving diversity”.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, announcing the move, said: “We are lucky in this country that we have the finest judiciary in the world. We intend to build on that: we will continue to recruit the very best judges but at the same time we will do what we can encourage top applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds, so that the judiciary better reflects society.”

Fortune 500 listing has highest ever number of female CEOs

9 May

There are now 18 female chief executives in the Fortune 500 in the US – the highest number of women to secure a position in this influential listing.

CNN’s Leading Women report on Meet Fortune 500’s Female Powerbrokers gives a rundown of who’s made it this year, including Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard (in 10th position) and Ginni Rometty from IBM (in 19th). There are a further 21 female CEOs in the Fortune 501-1000 listing.

As CNN rightly points out, this is great progress, but there is still some way to go to improve the number of women on boards. Does this lie in the hands of the female CEOs who’ve made it? Will they – as suggested by Baroness Goudie, founder of the 30% Club, in the CNN report – encourage chairman to include more female candidates when selecting board members, and become role models to the women moving up the ranks?

Opportunity Now Awards 2012 celebrate competitive advantage of gender equality

19 Apr

The key message from the Opportunity Awards 2012 was that gender equality is not about ‘tokenism’ but about hiring and nurturing the best talent to promote competitive advantage.

The Awards by Opportunity Now – – the gender quality campaign by Business in the Community – were set up “to recognise private and public sector organisations that have put gender issues at the core of their business agendas and are committed to creating inclusive workplaces for women at all levels”.

The winners this year included:

  • BT for the Transparency Award, for being one of the first to publish its gender metrics.
  • Dell for Agile Organisation, for its ‘Connected Workplace’, allowing 65% of employees to work remotely.
  • Diageo for the Female FTSE Award, because it has 44.4% female board representation.
  • Credit Suisse, for Advancing Women in the Workplace Award for its Mentoring Advisory Group initiative.

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, won the Champion Award.

Opportunity Now chair Alison Platt, CMG, divisional managing director, Europe and North America for Bupa, said: “This agenda is about utilising the best talent to gain competitive advantage; it is not about tokenism. For more than two decades, Opportunity Now has been working with leading businesses that recognise the tangible benefits of a diverse and fully engaged workforce. These employers understand that creating workplaces that work for women is a commercial imperative, not a women’s issue. All the Opportunity Now Awards winners should be commended for the innovative and impactful way they are embedding diversity and equality into their long-term business strategy.”

Majority of headhunters believe Davies report will fail

6 Apr

The majority of headhunters believe the recommendations in the Davies report could backfire and lead to positive discrimination, according to a survey by InterExec.

The company spoke to 80 senior executive headhunters, 80% of whom said companies would fail to meet the Davies target of 25% female board representation by 2015. There is also a fear among 83% of headhunters that by trying to fill those quotas, excellent candidates may be turned down because firms need to make up their female numbers. In other words, it could lead to positive discrimination.

However, 61% of head-hunters (twice as many as last year’s survey) agree that firms should more than double the women on their boards by 2015.

Kit Scott-Brown, managing director of InterExec, said: “The most important outcome of any recruitment process is that the best candidate gets the role. Any kind of discrimination, positive or otherwise, is not in the employer’s interest. Although the recruitment industry agrees that there is a need for greater representation of women in the boardroom, every appointment should be on merit alone.”

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