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Why Women Mean Business: Understanding the Emergence of our next Economic Revolution

ISBN: 978-0-470-72508-5
376 pages
March 2008, Jossey-Bass
Why Women Mean Business: Understanding the Emergence of our next Economic Revolution (0470725087) cover image

Description

Never before has there been such a confluence of international attention to the economic importance of women and the need for policies to enable them to fulfil their potential. The position of women - as employees, consumers and leaders - is seen as a measure of health, maturity and economic viability.

Why Women Mean Business takes the economic arguments for change to the heart of the corporate world. This powerful new book analyses the opportunities available to companies that really understand what motivates women in the workplace and the marketplace. Find out how companies that learn to adapt to women will be better able to respond to the challenge of an ageing workforce and the demands of the next generation of knowledge workers. The authors compare policies and approaches in countries around the world, that offer surprising and envious results.

The optimisation of women’s talents will boost the bottom line. Taking action to achieve this will require sustained courage and conviction from today’s corporate leaders. Reading Why Women Mean Business will be an important first step.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Niall FitzGerald KBE xiii

Preface by Michael Kimmel xv

Acknowledgements xxi

CHAPTER ONE: WOMENOMICS 1

Guarantors of growth 1

The strategic side of the gender divide 6

Opportunity cost 9

Valuing difference 12

Becoming “gender-bilingual” 15

Declining demographics is not destiny 18

21st century forces: weather, women, web 22

CHAPTER TWO: MOST OF THE TALENT 27

The “talent wars” are here 28

Female brainpower 30

Under-used talent 34

The role of business schools 36

Tapping into the pool 39

Recruiting: making women welcome 40

Retaining: structural repairs needed 44

Promoting: return on investment 57

Building better boards 62

Legislating solutions – the controversial quota 65

CHAPTER THREE: MUCH OF THE MARKET 73

Purchasing power – beyond parity 75

Female finances 77

Sex and segmentation 85

The many faces of marketing to women 89

Shut-your-eyes 90

Marginalise 93

Specialise 94

Prioritise 96

CHAPTER FOUR: BECOMING “BILINGUAL”, WHAT COMPANIES CAN DO 103

A fresh look at traditional approaches to gender 103

Equal and different 107

Diversity dilemmas 110

Recognise that “best” is biased 113

Surprising sectors 119

A new approach to gender 120

Understand the starting point 120

Personalise the conversation 124

Manage the metaphors – the power of vocabulary and vision 126

The building blocks of bilingualism 130

1 “Getting it”: top management commitment 131

2 Management bilingualism: proactively managing difference 132

3 Empowering women: the knowledge and networks to succeed 133

4 Banning bias: identifying and eliminating systemic bias from corporate systems and processes 134

CHAPTER FIVE: SEVEN STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION 141

Key success factors 141

1 Awaken your leadership team 143

2 Define the business case 148

3 Let people express resistance 151

4 Make it a business issue, not a women’s issue 155

5 Make changes before making noise 162

6 Don’t mix up the messages 166

7 Give it a budget, not just volunteers 170

CHAPTER SIX: CULTURE COUNTS, WHAT COUNTRIES CAN DO 183

Making bosses and babies 183

Best and worst: surprising results 187

Imperfect deal in America 199

Continents of contrast 206

Public policy pull, private sector push 212

CHAPTER SEVEN: FIGURING OUT FEMALES 223

What companies need to know about women 223

Discomfort with “politics” 225

The conversations that matter 236

Careers are not straight lines 238

Phase 1: ambition 242

Phase 2: culture shock 244

Phase 3: self-affirmation 252

The lure of entrepreneurship 256

Alternative views of “power” 258

Sex, success and the media 259

Change agents on their own terms 264

CHAPTER EIGHT: TOMORROW’S TALENT TRENDS . . . TODAY, “WOMEN-FRIENDLY” MEANS “PEOPLE-FRIENDLY” 271

New models of work 273

Fathers count too 277

Technology as enabler 280

The value of “grey” brainpower 285

Making the most of the “Me” generation 291

The future is already here 296

CHAPTER NINE: CONCLUSION, FROM BETTER BUSINESS TO A BETTER WORLD? 301

New voices, new choices 302

New measures of success 306

A challenge for business 309

Index 317

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Author Information

AVIVAH WITTENBERG-COX is CEO of 20-First, one of Europe’s leading gender consultancies. 20-First works with progressive companies interested in building gender ‘bilingual’ organisations that capture the opportunities offered by the other half of the talent pool and the other half of the market – the female half. The firm’s renowned Bilingual Leadership programmes help executives – men and women - manage difference more effectively.

Avivah is also the Founder and Honorary President of the European Professional Women’s Network (www.EuropeanPWN.net), a certified executive coach and was a Visiting Coach at INSEAD. She is a popular speaker on leadership and gender issues across Europe and has had articles and interviews published in publications such as the International Herald Tribune and the Financial Times. Canadian, French and Swiss. In 2007, ELLE Magazine recognised her as one of the TOP 40 Women Leading Change. She lives in France with her husband and gender balanced children (a son and a daughter).

ALISON MAITLAND is an independent journalist and commentator who has been researching and writing about women in business for a decade. She spent 20 years with the Financial Times, including eight years as Management Writer. Her other specialist areas are leadership and corporate responsibility.

Alison is a Senior Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Management at Cass Business School, City University, London. She is a conference speaker and moderator and she directs the Work-Life & Diversity Council of The Conference Board Europe. She served on the advisory group for the Equal Opportunities Commission’s 2007 investigation into the Transformation of Work. She lives in the UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Reviews

"This powerful new book analyses the opportunities available to companies that really understand what motivates women in the workplace..." (Women-omics.com, October 9th 2008)

"Wittenberg-Cox & Maitland have opened new ground (and) added a useful dimension to the debate" Management Today, February 2008)

"Offers many fascinating findings on the roles of women today... a highly collaborative book" (People Management, Thursday 7th February 2008)

"...a cheering alternative to the traditional whinge about men holding women back in the workplace" (Financial World, February 2008)

"step-by-step guide for mangers on how to create growth by valuing the input of both women and men" (theglasshammer.com. Tuesday 5th February 2008)

" need Maitland and Wittenberg-Cox to spell out the persistence of "soft"  barriers and spur the politicians to demand reforms." (commentisfree.guardian.co.uk)              

"At least someone is talking sense, and we shouldn't be surprised that it's a woman." (Scotland On Sunday, Monday 11th February 2008)

“Why Women Mean Business is an innovative and stimulating book.” (Financial Times, Tuesday 26th February 2008)

“[The authors] make a convincing case for more women in senior business roles. The case is supported by sound research.“ (Financial Times, Thursday 28th February 2008)

“…offers practical advice, backed up by case studies and statistics.” (Director, March 2008)

“This powerful new book brings together…the multiplicity of opportunities available to companies that really understand what motivates women...” (The Business Channel Newsletter, March 2008)

“…this book lays out the importance of retaining women in senior leadership positions, and the dangers of ignoring half the talent pool.” (Harper's Bazaar, April 2008)

 “The authors have been meticulous in their research, with an impressive collection of up-to-date, relevant case studies and statistics.” (Personnel Today, Tuesday 1st April 2008)

"Why and how to improve women's place in business leadership”. (International Herald Tribune, Friday 4th April 2008)

“The book is a comprehensive understanding of the emergence of women as the next economic revolution”. (TNT Link newsletter, March 2008)

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