Vivienne Cox about Women on Boards

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.

NPR Interview with Christine Lagarde

NPR‘s Renee Montagne spoke with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde about the positive impact women’s careers can have on economic growth. Lagarde bases her claims on this IMF study from September 2013. Click here for an NPR article about the interview.

March Recommendations

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.

How To Get A Raise In 47 Seconds

The woman in this wonderful video is Annelie Nordström, Chairwoman of Kommunal, a Swedish organization. It was produced by Be a MAN.

Helen Mirren Quote

“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.

Nadia Kamil’s Feminist Burlesque Routine

 

Click here for more on Nadia Kamil.

Finally, a Woman on the ECB Board

 

I participated in an “Online Citizen’s Dialogue” yesterday evening with Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission (that’s me on the bottom right). I made it through a whole qualification process over the past few days and it’s a good thing I did, because I was the only one who raised the topic of women on boards. Reding spoke about all sorts of issues and you can watch the whole thing if you want, but this clip is the one relevant to gender equality.

My second question, starting at around 4 minutes in, is the interesting one because that’s where I ask about the abysmal state of gender equality at the European Central Bank. In her answer Ms. Reding mentions two new appointments which I was unaware of. The first one is Daniele Nouy’s appointment as the bank’s new Oversight Chief. The second — hot off yesterday’s press — is the announcement of Sabine Lautenschlaeger’s nomination to represent Germany on the ECB board. Lautenschlaeger will replace Jörg Asmussen.

I wrote about the last male appointment to the ECB’s board in my 2012 wrapup. Both new appointments are noteworthy, but Lautenschlaeger’s is especially important because it means the European Union will finally set an example for gender diversity on boards and join the 21st century.

The event’s host is Mark Davis from Euronews.

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