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Japan womenomicsI was working out yesterday with the television on. Having news running helps keep my mind off how much I wish I were finished with those squats. In this workout session, for the first time in my life, there was more news about women at work than about anything else. Germany is requiring companies to have women represent 30% of board members. Japan’s Prime Minister announced a goal of having women fill 30% of leadership positions. And Sheryl Sandberg is urging men to “Lean In.”

I literally stopped exercising, in awe that the mission of my own work is headline news. Could we be moving toward a tipping point — when enough people actually recognize the business value of gender diversity in leadership? Could the value of women and what they “bring to the table” be reaching a critical point in public awareness and opinion?

In case you missed any of this, here were this week’s hot stories about women in the workplace.

Germany’s Parliament approved a quota system, requiring listed companies to have at least 30% women on their supervisory boards starting in 2016. That means that Europe’s biggest economy will have a critical mass of women at the top level of their biggest businesses.

Japan hosted a huge symposium on “womenomics.” U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Prime Minister Abe both spoke. The Prime Minister set a goal of filling 30% of leadership positions in the public and private sectors with women by 2020.

Sheryl Sandberg is making the news again, this time asking men to “lean in.” Among the tips for men to do at home are to:

  • “Challenge gender stereotypes, by making sure your kids play with diverse toys and see diverse characters in books and movies
  • Help your daughter lead. Not calling her “bossy” is a start — also encourage her to be assertive in other ways, like introducing herself to people.”

What a great news day! What do you think of these stories? Do you think we are reaching critical mass in people’s understanding of the importance of gender diversity?