Innovating Women is a crowdsourced book about women in technology. It comes out in September and will include a contribution by me about Silvija Seres and the Norwegian quota for women on boards. Please pre-order it today and tell your friends about it. If you’re curious for a preview, there’s a quote from Silvija in my post about Innovating Women last year when the project was just starting out.
Vivienne Cox is a Non-Executive Director at Rio Tinto, BG Group, and Vallourec. In this video she speaks with INSEAD’s Prof. Herminia Ibarra about sustainable energy and women on boards. She describes women impacting beyond individual contribution due to a positive effect on the entire board’s dynamic. This means other board members and the board in general becomes more valuable as a result of women being part of it. She also says three is the optimal “magic” number for women to be effective on a board.
The part about women starts about halfway through, at 4:20 in:
Cox: I think it’s critical to have diversity on a board. I think the diversity can come in several forms, but I think diverse voices coming together in an environment where those voices can be heard, where there is honesty, openness, transparency and there is good dialogue, then that diversity adds hugely. And I think the female dimensions is a really really important dimension of that diversity. My observation – and it’s somewhat stereotype but it is my experience – is that women are less directive. They are better at listening, they are better at bringing in others, and they therefore can compliment the discussion really powerfully, provided they’re in an environment where they have the confidence to do so and they’re given the space to do so.
International Women’s Day came and went and with it an annual peak in research and events about women and careers. Last year I was able to write more here, but this March I haven’t had enough time to write about work because I’ve been too busy working… Instead, I’d like to make three recommendations – for a book, a podcast and a documentary I’ve recently enjoyed.
Glynnis MacNicol and Rachel Sklar‘s 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women is an insightful collection of essays about career habits, mostly from women in media. It’s my first Kindle Serial and I find myself looking forward to reading a new chapter every weekend.
I loved Ashley Milne-Tyte‘s latest episode about emotions at the office. One of my favorite topics! For this podcast Ashley interviewed Anne Kreamer, who wrote It’s Always Personal, as well as Caroline Turner and Marianne Cooper.
And finally, 20 Feet from Stardom won the 2013 Oscar for best documentary. It was directed by Morgan Neville and the great music is misleading, because the film isn’t about the music industry (it stars backup singers). It’s about the changes society and women are going through in relation to careers and ambition and talent. Here’s an interesting quote from Sting:
It’s not a level playing field, it never is a level playing field. You come into life understanding that. It’s not about fairness, it’s not really about talent, you know. It’s circumstance, it’s luck, it’s destiny, I don’t know what it is. But the best people deal with it.
I want to think that by “deal with it” he means ‘do something about it,’ but I’m not sure because it could also mean ‘accept it and make the most of what you can.’ Either way, the film is a fascinating look at talented women who are usually invisible as individuals.
“When I started out… you walked onto a film set and it was all men. Really it was like walking into a locker room of an NFL team. It was a very, very male atmosphere. Maybe there were one or two women on the set. And my God, how much things have changed. I’ve witnessed that change… That’s why I want to live another 40 years… because I want to see what further changes are coming. It’s coming, women and girls, it’s coming! Enjoy it. And have a drink.”
Source: Helen Mirren Takes on the Gender Gap, by Melena Ryzik, NYTimes, March 1 2014.