Everyone knows that having women on a company’s board of directors is good for the company’s bottom line. Research shows that a critical mass of THREE women results in better corporate governance. Less likely to feel like an outsider, a woman is more likely to speak up and be heard when she is one of three. Good decisions and good results follow from a balance of feminine and masculine strengths. Knowing this, leaders should not be satisfied with one (token) woman. Yet a new study shows that, at the executive level, most companies have just one woman. They have “checked the box.” With only one woman, they may miss out on the value of true gender diversity.
One obstacle for women in business reaching the top is the double bind. If men become more aware of this problem, they can lower an obstacle to gender diversity. Business workplaces tend to be more masculine than feminine in nature. To succeed, women learn to adopt a masculine style. But if she is “too” masculine “too often,” she may be penalized. If she operat
When asked “haven’t women made lots of progress?” I am reminded of the cigarette slogan declaring how far women had come. As Gail Collins chronicles in her book “When Everything Changed,” since 1960 there have been major shifts in norms and attitudes about what women can and should do. In the 60’s most middle class women worked only at home. Now women are CEO’s, Supreme Court Justices and Secretaries of State. Women have more choices. Hurray! BUT women entered jobs traditionally held by men 35 years ago and still aren’t proportionally represented on the upper rungs of the ladder. We have a long way to go before the “glass” is full enough!