Leaders Must Recruit Women Leaders

Here some clips from a great Globe & Mail Editorial on women (from 11 Jan 2010).  The column suggests that women still have a long way to go and recommends that leaders such as CEOs take up the personal task of advancing as many women as possible.

It’s hard not to feel wistful in 2010 when recalling the excitement of the early 1970s, when feminism was becoming mainstream, women were demanding greater equality, and many young people believed they were building a new world without the limits that had constrained many of their mothers and grandmothers. In many respects, that 40-year-old optimism has been borne out. …BUT …While women have made great strides in four decades, they still remain a small minority in the narrower world of power and authority in society today.

… Many senior leaders today are men, and have what psychologists call a natural selection bias toward people like themselves. … Others also argue informal networking still often favours men, whether it’s a mutual interest in sports or an easier bonding over drinks at the bar after work. And as those working to boost the number of women on corporate boards report, personal networking remains the single most important factor in winning an appointment to a large corporate board. Senior corporate leaders still prefer “safe bets” who move in the same circles.

…But one single reform can trump all those incremental efforts. That happens when leaders – CEOs, board chairmen, political party leaders and others – personally commit themselves to hiring and promoting women. One CEO’s dedicated efforts to compel change can do as much good as a raft of other initiatives with only lacklustre commitment behind them. Indeed, many senior women credit having a great CEO at a pivotal moment in their careers for getting them onto the elite path to the top.

Leaders can start by creating targets for their organizations – even voluntary ones – and by reiterating to staff as often as possible that they matter. Managers throughout an organization can be asked to make sure that women’s names are included on lists of candidates for promotions. And executives can even tie an element of compensation or bonuses for managers to their success at boosting diversification.

Women have come a long way in four decades, but the final “power” frontier is as important to conquer as all the others that have come before. Those who lead must take the responsibility to make change happen. They must adopt the issue as a personal challenge.

Find the whole column at:


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