Tag Archive for ‘Women’
Since taking over the top job at General Motors in January, Mary Barra has been low-key about the fact that she’s the first woman ever to lead the giant auto maker. And that is a good thing, says columnist Gael O’Brien. “Because there are so few women CEOs,” she writes, “there is a danger that in celebrating them we can go too far — celebrity status conferred on, cultivated or accepted creates a rock star status which when associated with leadership has real risks.”
With greater gender diversity on a corporate board, comes better performance. Opinions differ as to why, but myriad research studies from leading academic institutions and the private sector all make a compelling case for more balanced gender representation on boards. The debate should be long over, yet women’s presence on U.S. corporate boards remains frustratingly, persistently low.
A new television/video program, “Business In Society,” delivering news and analysis on how business is addressing global society’s macro problems — among them, the environment, energy conservation, and women’s empowerment — debuts Saturday, March 30th, 2013.
Even though the business case for increasing the number of women in senior management and on corporate boards has been made – successfully – columnist Gael O’Brien wonders why there hasn’t been more progress in making it happen. The answer, she suggests, may lie in the “self-seal” that often surrounds organizations and their leaders.
A top Ernst & Young executive says that by not recruiting more women to corporate boards, U.S.-headquartered businesses are encouraging a “brain drain,” as women join the boards of non-U.S. competitors. It’s time, she says, for corporate leaders in America to “take advantage of the power of diverse views from leaders who don’t think, act or look like themselves.”
For women seeking to advance in greater numbers to CEO and board roles, gender diversity continues to move at a tortoise pace. At Fortune 500 companies, women still represent only 3.6 percent of CEOs and hold only 16 percent of board seats. Improving on that, says columnist Gael O’Brien, will require a leadership of engagement.
Across the globe, the trend toward corporate governance reform continues in response to the global financial crisis and to the opening of markets in developing economies. But consultants for the executive search firm Spencer Stuart think some of that may be overdone. “Governance regulation plays a valuable role,” they write, “but those who elevate its standing to that of corporate savior are exaggerating its power.”
Author Caroline Turner suggests that enrolling others in creating a culture of inclusion requires that you present a clear business case that fits your industry and organization. “It requires,” she writes, “that the leaders of your organization understand the business value of inclusion and gender diversity.”
Columnist Gael O’Brien says the U.S. has failed to show leadership in gender diversity on corporate boards, raising questions about what it can learn from other countries that have imposed quotas for women directors. While quotas can stir up discomfort, she writes, there’s a “complacency, even smugness” about boardroom diversity in the U.S. that argues in favor of requiring companies to take action.
Acquiring the skills needed for leadership isn’t easy for members of either sex. But for women who pursue careers in companies, there is the daunting reality that unless you start your own business, a leadership role can be hard to come by. Columnist Gael O’Brien speaks with McKinsey consultant and author Joanna Barsh about her research into “centered leadership” and how it might help accelerate the leadership journey for women.