Lynne Parker reflects on an article by Daniel Boffey in the Observer newspaper entitled 'Why women's jokes fall flat in the boardroom' which reviews the findings of a study by Dr Judith Baxter, a linguistics expert, about women's behaviour in the boardroom. The study raises questions about how women use humour in the workplace, specifically the boardroom, the ultimate 'boys club' where even some of the women wear trousers.
If a woman employs the direct, masculine approach to any sort of confrontation in business, in or out of the boardroom, she is more often or not described as 'aggressive' or 'bossy'. Men are more comfortable with a woman flirting her way out of a situation than confronting them.
I've just been quoted in an article by Daniel Boffey in theObserver newspaper yesterday entitled 'Why women's jokes fall flat in the boardroom' which reviews the findings of a study by Dr Judith Baxter, a linguistics expert, about women's behaviour in the boardroom. The study raises questions about how women use humour in the workplace, specifically the boardroom, the ultimate 'boys club' where even some of the women wear trousers.
Having spent the last 10 years listening to and watching nearly 2,000 female comedy acts, and 35 years working in business and the media, I can confirm that women's humour is not always as self-deprecating at Dr Baxter's study would have us believe. I don't profess to be an 'expert' and can only take as I find, but women's humour is evolving.
Speakers at the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s inaugural Women in Private Equity Forum have come out largely against hiring quotas as a solution to the lack of women working in the industry.
Panellists including Zeina Bain, a director in leveraged buyouts at the Carlyle Group, and guest speaker Laura Tenison, founder of Jojo Maman Bebe, spoke out against the use of quotas following a European Commission proposal to impose mandatory quotas and a report by Lord Davies in which he called for more female board representation at FTSE 100 companies.
Bain said: “I am against quotas. It is hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman. You put yourself out there when you are working on a deal. If there are quotas in place, [people might say] does she know what she is talking about? Why is she here?”
Tenison said in a speech about her experience as an entrepreneur that she disagreed with quotas, noting that she believed that the hiring process should be dependent solely on achievements and merit. “It just so happens that all the directors [on Jojo Maman Bebe’s board], apart from one, are women, and that is because they are right for the job."
In a straw poll of about 80 attendees, only a handful agreed with the use of quotas.
Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the spate of corporate frauds and accounting scandals such as Enron, WorldCom, Parmalat, Satyam and China Aviation Oil (Singapore), there has been considerable research about the effectiveness of the board of directors in the corporate governance of firms. There are strong conceptual and business propositions for greater board diversity. In the corporate world, there has been anecdotal evidence from some large corporations such as IBM, Ford Motor, Nortel, Lucent, Sara Lee, Texaco, and DuPont that diversity at every level of the work force tothe board of directors of firms have been cited as an imperative for business success.
A survey of Australian CEOs from Dun and Bradstreet and Chief Executive Women (CEW).
The data was collated from Dun and Bradstreet’s monthly Business Expectation Survey of 1,200 chief executive officers over a three-month period Q3-Q4 2011.The data reflects CEO’s answers to two key questions about women senior management appointments.
The survey showed that:
• over 75 per cent of small firms did not intend to appoint a female to a senior management position in the next three months. Over 65 per cent of small to medium size firms were not mandating that female candidates be short listed for senior management roles.
• 22% of corporates said that in the last three months or next three months they have appointed or intend to appoint at least one female to a senior management position. This proportion is approximately the same across all industry groups.
Forbes reports that after a stunning $2 billion trading loss, JPMorgan Chase‘s chief investment officer, Ina Drew, 55, will step down. The 30-year banking veteran oversaw the London unit responsible for the ill-fated trades and was one of three resignations announced so far, including a top London official, Achilles Macris, and a senior trader, Javier Martin-Artaj.
The exit of one of Wall Street’s most powerful women spotlights the dwindling numbers of women at the top. Last year, Sallie Krawcheck left her post as Bank of America‘s president of global wealth management, and Heidi Miller retired as head of JPMorgan’s international operations. This followed the headline-making departures of Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Callan in 2008 and Morgan Stanley president Zoe Cruz in 2007.
“Here we go again. Another woman at the top of Wall Street is toppled,” says Jane Newton, founder of the Wall Street Women Forum and wealth manager and partner at RegentAtlantic Capital. “[Drew] was one of the most experienced, savvy and respected Wall Streeters. This is a blow to other women who want to climb to the top. There’s one less role model and one less female leader to bring diversity, which is sorely needed.”
In this article, we examine a heretofore neglected pocket of resistance to the gender revolution in the workplace: married male employees who have stay-at-home wives. We develop and empirically test the theoretical argument suggesting that such organizational members, compared to male employees in modern marriages, are more likely to exhibit attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are harmful to women in the workplace. To assess this hypothesis, we conducted four studies with a total of 718 married, male participants. We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.
The Washington Post reports that Army leaders have begun to study the prospect of sending female soldiers to the service’s prestigious Ranger school — another step in the effort to broaden opportunities for women in the military.
Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff, said Wednesday that he’s asked senior commanders to provide him with recommendations and a plan this summer. And while he stressed that no decisions have been made, he suggested that Ranger school may be a logical next step for women as they move into more jobs closer to the combat lines.
“If we determine that we’re going to allow women to go in the infantry and be successful, they are probably at some time going to have to go through Ranger school,” Odierno told reporters. “If we decide to do this, we want the women to be successful.”
The number of US women in Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions has decreased since 2010, according to a survey (PDF) released by Harvey Nash USA this week. In 2010, 12 percent of CIOs were women. That number dropped to 11 percent in 2011 and is down to 9 percent this year.
The report finds that one third of US CIOs say that within their IT organizations there are no women in management level positions. 52% of US CIOs report that women are underrepresented in their IT organizations, according to the survey.
Everybody, it seems, is talking about women in this campaign — what they should do, how they should act, who they should be in society. But do women see themselves reflected in the dialogue — or is the mirror of political rhetoric distorting their concerns? How, exactly, is all this talk about women playing among women?
You could hear these issues play out on a recent day in this key presidential swing state — first, at the equal pay protest, but later at a hotel near Broncos stadium, where five conservative women led a panel discussion to strategize about reframing the rhetoric and working to woo more women voters to their camp this year. There was passion, but there was also irritation. Some women said talk about contraception was a distracting sideshow; others said the preoccupation of some politicians with abortion showed they were out of touch.
"They really must not know what exactly is going on," said a university student with friends who've had both babies and abortions. "They" are the male politicians who still outnumber women at all levels of elective office, but also the two men running for president who keep trying to one-up each other in reaching out to this vital, but hardly monolithic, voting bloc.
The upshot: Whether seen as real or manufactured, something about the so-called "war" is resonating among American women who could well make the difference on Election Day. Many are acting out and speaking up. Many are, in fact, girding for battle, in one way or another.
It goes to show that no matter how high up in business or politics a woman gets — or how hard she falls — in the end the focus is often about how she looks and not what she does.
“We’re still held to a double standard,” said Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who produced the 2011 documentary “Miss Representation” about the underrepresentation of women in powerful positions.
“It’s tragic,” she said. “We have an obsession with women’s looks. Unfortunately our culture has bought into this whole double standard that a women’s value is her beauty not her capacity to lead.”
Women certainly feel the pressure to look good. Nearly half of women don’t feel good about themselves unless they’re wearing makeup, according to a study released this year by the Renfrew Center Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on eating disorder research and treatment.