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Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief, Credit Union Times | June 30, 2013
The cover letter on a Government Accountability Office report to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee states that women comprise nearly half of the workforce at 47% as of July 2010. While the number of women earning college degrees has tripled between 1970 and 2008, the letter read, they are less well represented among management. The GAO cited the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, which found that female officials and managers in the private sector increased from just over 29% in 1990 to 36.4% in 2002. Women must do their own legwork to raise our collective stature beyond the height of our pumps in 2013.
Between 2000 and 2007, male to female ratios in management was flat across 13 sectors, the GAO found. In 2007 women accounted for 40% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers, while figures from 2000 indicate women represented 39% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers.
The GAO also found that female managers in 2007 had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers. A lot of these factors are very personal choices and they all can be for very noble reasons. It’s nothing anyone else can decide for you. You’re welcome to the sisterhood if and when you’re ready.
But when your personal journey leads you toward career aspirations, do it right. When a job a level up becomes available, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t just hope to get recognized. Management wants someone who can demonstrate they’re a leader and can assert themselves. Gather advice from mentors and colleagues, pull up your big-girl pants and go for it.
Not only are women underrepresented in management, but pay differences also continue to tug at our skirt hemlines. On average, married female managers earned the majority of household wages, but her share was smaller than the average male married manager; this statistic held steady between 2000 and 2007, according to the GAO. The pay gap did narrowed slightly between 2000 and 2007. After taking into account factors such as education level, the GAO estimated that female managers earn 81 cents to men’s dollar in 2007. This was up from 79 cents in 2000, and varied depending upon the sector.
The authors of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating recommend asserting yourself in salary negotiations from the start. A study of Carnegie Mellon University graduates discovered that male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a larger starting salary than female students. The authors stated that was, in part, due to women’s poor negotiation skills or foregoing it entirely. They cite the experience of Maria Dorner, CEO of NewsMD Communications when early in her career, she took her mother’s advice: “You need them more than they need you.” She quickly learned this was the wrong strategy for valuing her work. She asked for double and got it only to learn that a male counterpart had just asked for and received triple. That might be a bit of an extreme example, but the idea is 1) know what you’re worth in the market that you’re in; and 2) be sure to assert yourself to achieve a fair goal. You are worth it—to yourself and your employer.
By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief, Credit Union Times
firstname.lastname@example.org | June 04, 2013
In my Savings and Cedit Cooperative, majority of the members are men. Therefore, we thought of ways of encouraging more women to join the SACCO. We came across a "bring a female member campaign" within the same company member and get a reward of cash paid to anyone who can bring at least ten female members who can contribute about 30 US Dollars collectively. This also extend to male members as well, but our priority is female members. We want to increase our female membership from 30% to 50% of total membership we have currently.
email@example.com | May 17, 2013
I thought I would share this interesting article from the Harvard Business Review.
Sarah Snell Cooke, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Credit Union Times | April 09, 2013
Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was one of my favorite books I read in high school. It's a satire of the craziness of war and the phrase ‘catch 22,' meaning being caught in a no-win situation, came from the novel. "Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them," it reads. "If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to." This epitomizes female executives' leadership progress.
Jean Lau Chin wrote in her Forum on Public Policy Online article, "Women and Leadership: Transforming Visions and Current Contexts," that women are stuck in a Catch-22. Assertive behavior from women is frowned upon but not being assertive only lead to being ignored. "Contradictory portrayals of women leaders pose obstacles to how they lead, and often result in different standards than those applied to men. Women leaders are alternately portrayed as ‘soft and ineffective' or ‘domineering and manipulative,'" she wrote. Definitely sounds familiar to me and I'm sure some of you reading this.
Fortunately modern leadership trends tend more toward women's collaborative in nature. Chin noted that their collaborative skills are "increasingly central to views of effective leadership." A variety of contemporary leadership theories, she contended, could help to mitigate unintentional discrimination, including:
• Contingency or situational leadership theory is based upon the idea that various situations require different types of leadership;
• Shared leadership and empowerment; and
• Transformational leadership that is more value driven, ethics based and social change oriented leadership.
Appropriate leadership development can help women progress into leadership positions and be successful when they reach them. Robyn Ely, Herminia Ibarra and Deborah Kolb wrote in, "Taking Gender Into Account: Theory and Design for Women's Leadership Development Programs," that women's career trajectories were not on par with the men's among graduates of top business schools. Females' advancement in their careers has even slowed in recent years, they wrote. So the group set out to design training programs that don't merely "fix the women" so they can play the men's game, but also provide women the tools to do the "identity work" to become true leaders. Developing a leader identity involves internalizing the leader identity and developing an elevated sense of purpose for the work your organization is doing.
Women naturally seek to be authentic, which may not align with what is necessary to become leaders. Women prefer substantive careers and that can run counter to becoming the professional they can be. Ely and her associates recommended investing time and effort into strong 360-degree feedback and coaching to help women executives see how they are viewed by their bosses, colleagues and subordinates. Ely reported that many who had gone through this process were shocked at how low they were ranked by executives. After letting that settle, then the women are advised on how to improve their performance or better promote the work they really are performing.
What do you think? Are you willing to submit to this type of review, or is it just crazy?
By Sarah Snell Cooke
Credit Union Times
firstname.lastname@example.org | April 08, 2013
During the International Women's Week I had an opportunity to attend a screening of a Sundance Film Festival documentary called "MissRepresentation". While media is the focus of the film I struggle to solely lay the blame with them for how women are presented in the media.
Servus Women's Network is interested in holding it's own screening for our network members and I'd be interested in hearing from others who have viewed this film.
Katie Tellock | April 01, 2013
As female leaders in the corporate world, I'm sure Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In, has caught your attention. Whether or not you agree with it, this book by the female COO of Facebook is receiving a great deal of hype and is certainly relevant to our Network's goals.
If you have not had a chance to read the book, I will start with a brief summary. Lean In is the expansion of a message Sandberg introduced during the TED talk she gave back in 2010, titled "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders." Her presentation of data from all over the globe proves one point- women are not occupying an equal amount of top leadership positions to men in ANY field in ANY country. This extends to politics, the corporate world, nonprofits, and other fields. Although women have climbed in numbers in most sectors since the 1960's, their figures have stagnated in the last ten years and some are even decreasing. She highlights prejudices society still holds against women in the workforce and the ways in which women may also hold themselves back. To combat these problems, Sandberg proposes several ways women can change their approach, including "Sit at the table," "Make your partner a real partner," and "Don't leave before you leave." "Sit at the table" refers to women taking what is theirs and believing that they have what it takes to move up in the company, because "no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines." She points out that, according to statistics, women systematically underestimate their abilities while men tend to overestimate theirs. She thinks that if women become more confident in themselves, there will eventually be more of them at the top. Referring to "make your partner a real partner," she states that in order for it to become easier and more acceptable for women to rise to the "C level" jobs, it will have to become more acceptable for men to become "stay-at-home dads" as well. Working mothers currently spend significantly more time doing household chores and rearing their children than their male partners do, and a more 50/50 arrangement between couples would help keep women in the workforce. Finally, she talks about "not leaving before you leave," which refers to not leaving "the game" mentally before you actually need to leave for a child. This means that women who may be planning to get married or have a child at some point in the future should not pass up opportunities in anticipation of these life changes, but should "lean in" instead. By "leaning in," a woman can seize valuable career opportunities that will raise her income and make her job more challenging, which will in turn make it more likely that she will return to the workforce afterward.
After her book was released, I noticed a barrage of opinion articles by women with negative reactions to Sandberg's message, mostly on the grounds that it is "irrelevant" to the majority of women. Many decry the fact that she is a millionaire who can obviously afford to pay for childcare, unlike many women in the workforce. Others say she isn't relatable because she assumes most women have a "partner" to make into a "real partner," which many women don't. Still others have said that she is warping the feminist cause by shifting the blame for low numbers of women at top levels to women themselves instead of society. Some have compared her book to "The Feminine Mystique" in the sense that it only relates to a small, affluent part of the population.
For all the scorn she has received from opinion columns on Fox News, Forbes, and others, I believe there are certain axioms from her speech and book that transcend race, income level, and marital status. To dismiss her point of view as unique to only her life situation is truly a shame. When a male business mogul writes a book about how to become successful, it is hardly thinkable that men would discard his ideas simply because they are not relevant to every single type of man. Sheryl openly admits that her advice is not suitable for everyone and that the workforce isn't the right place for every woman, but she has many suggestions for those who choose to stay. I take issue with the fact that people say she blames women for their own misfortunes. Her aim is to empower us in our professional lives by asking us to own our strengths and successes more forcefully. She relies heavily on data in her speeches so she can highlight the fact that that gender bias still exists in our society but that there are ways women may better equip themselves to overcome it. Sandberg believes that having more women in charge would make the world a more equal place and would very much like to see this happen through a change in attitudes toward gender roles.
As I listened to the TED talk and skimmed her book, I could not help but think about the Global Women's Leadership Network's mission. Utilizing Sandberg's ideas could build women up and cause our Network could expand greatly. What are your thoughts on Lean In's message? Would you apply it in your own credit union or cooperative? If so, how?
Katie Tellock | April 01, 2013
The Network is happy to announce that we now have a group profile on LinkedIn. You can search for us under "Global Women's Leadership Network (World Council of Credit Unions)" or click here to see our page. Please join the group and feel free to start discussions on our wall. We also invite you to share the group with other women leaders in the credit union industry. Non-members are welcome!
TagsChallenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions
, Community Outreach
, CU Boards / Volunteers
, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members
, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide
, Financial/Risk Management
, Growing CU Market Share
, Impact of Women in Society
, Internal Operations
, Member Service
, Member Discussions
, Program Updates
, Regulatory Issues
Sarah Snell Cooke, Publisher / Editor-in-Chief , Credit Union Times | March 19, 2013
Women are good at networking with other women. Perhaps it's because they're more comfortable. The problem is that women are limiting their professional growth opportunities because, as we all know, women do not comprise the majority of top-level executives. That's not to say that women's groups don't have their place, but networking must necessarily extend beyond them.
Career Development International published a case study in 2011 that studied the impact of women's networks on participants' careers and the executives at the organization. They preface that report, stating that very little research has been done regarding the actual impact of women's networks on organizations. However, it did cite previous research stating, "The success or failure of these efforts is dependent on how they are perceived by organizational members-both men and women."
When studying organized networks intended to help promote diversity, the CDI article found very different viewpoints between what the members expected from the group and how executive management viewed it. Both sides saw it as a way to increase women in leadership in the case study. However, the executives, only one of whom was a woman, viewed it primarily as a mentoring vehicle and promoting diversity; the female group members looked at the women's network as strategic opportunity for the company that would benefit the bottom line, in addition to networking.
Women network differently than men, which impacts their careers. According to the article, women's networks tend to be smaller groups with stronger bonds and more homogenous than men's networks. Men's networking is a mile wide and an inch deep, but it serves the purpose of helping them advance professionally because they hear about opportunities and come into contact with a lot of people. Women also have more women in their networks, and because women are less visible at the upper levels of management, they have fewer opportunities to meet informally with top executives. The proverbial good old boys' club comes into play when they talk business on hunting trips or over cigars.
Women and Leadership: Closing the Gender Gap, published in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, cited a presentation during an Oxford Brookes University conference which suggested that informal influencing networks might be more useful that straight networking. The idea is to align with like-minded colleagues who will help push your goal forward, creating an "influencing path" based on who's trusted by key players.
Female executives must recognize the importance of possessing the right kind of connections, as well as broader networks. At the same time, male executives should think to expand their horizons beyond the hunting lodge or golf course. As women will naturally become a larger part of senior management, it's crucial to everyone to ensure well-rounded networking for all.
By Sarah Snell Cooke
Credit Union Times
ktellock | March 19, 2013
In honor of International Women's Day, we would like to alert you to the fact that PBS aired a special last week on "Women who Make America," which is available online at this link.
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ktellock | March 18, 2013
Two authors look beyond the stereotypes to examine the research-based evidence about the leadership traits women possess. (Psst: They lead straight to success.)
Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
In the era of post-post-feminism, let's just admit it: Men and women are--or at least can be--different in certain ways. And some of those ways show up at the workplace. Some even show up in the C-suite. So, let's take the time to ponder how that, well, works.
To put it simply: Do women lead differently?
According to Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, the answer is an uniquivocal yes. What's more interesting, though, is that they believe that leadership by a woman tends to yield very desirable results--including better odds of business profitability and creation of more businesses that are fundamentally creative and innovative.
For two decades, Hadary, the founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, and Henderson, founder of Prospect Associates, a $20-million health communications and biomedical research firm, have been conducting research on women in leadership roles. What they confirmed is that the women leaders with multi-million-dollar businesses combine their unique feminine leadership with sound business acumen to achieve their highest aspirations.
In their recent book, How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know, the authors also cite the latest academic research affirming that women's leadership styles are condusive to success. (For instance, MIT found that the most creative and productive groups included women. Also, Pepperdine University reported that businesses with more women in leadership reported higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders.)
Hadary and Henderson offer these success strategies for leaders who wish to maximize their strengths with solid business acumen to become a high-potential leader.
1. Own Your Destiny--and Judge Yourself Only by Your Own Metrics
One fascinating fact illuminated by this recent research is that women who achieve most are also women who define success in their own terms and integrate achieving high financial goals with creating a business that reflects their passions. Their businesses provide socially responsible products and services, offer opportunities for employees to thrive, make a positive difference in the community, and simultaneously create personal wealth for the owner.
Successful entrepreneurs establish high goals and when they achieve their goals, they move the bar even higher.
"Women should think of their businesses as a $1 million business from Day One," says Henderson. "This drives how they structure the business, the decisions they make, and the way they present themselves and the business."
2. Lead Like a Woman
Highly successful women are likely to build on their leadership strengths of collaboration, inclusion, and consultation. The result within a company is a culture where everyone's ideas and insights are heard and considered in making decisions and where people feel valued and, therefore, are committed to achieving organizational goals.
There's something else that seems to be specific to women's leadership styles: Women think more holistically. That means, when women view a situation, they have a tendency go beyond the specific facts and the numbers to take into account personnel and organization considerations. As a result, they identify opportunities, risks, and gaps that others often miss, strengthening their competitive edge.
3. Numbers Tell Stories. Become a Translator of These
Never undermine your credibility as a businesswoman by opening a discussion with a statement about your lack of business acumen. Learn about finance and speak about it in its own language. The women business owners and leaders with the largest, fastest-growing organizations produce more financial reports more frequently than those with slower growing businesses. They identify the key metrics that give them the insights they need and embrace financial knowledge as a major part of their strategic decision-making.
4. Build Exceptional Teams
Hire the best from the very beginning and avoid the common mistake of hiring executives from a large company. You need leaders who can work effectively in a fast-moving, entrepreneurial organization. These are people who have the ability to commit to a bigger cause and possess values congruent with yours, curiosity and critical thinking skills, common sense, people and relationship skills, risk taking skills, and respect, admiration, and tolerance for the entrepreneur. Hiring to these characteristics will result in a team that can identify and implement solutions to the evolving challenges of the entrepreneurial business.
5. Nurture Your Greatest Asset: You
Avoid becoming so caught up in your work you cannot see the world around you. Focus on integrating all aspects of your life and treat your time and energy as scarce resources--as scarce and valuable as any item in your budget. Establish priorities based on your values and goals and use them to make decisions about accepting requests for your time.
The most successful leaders are life-long learners. Set aside time to attend conferences and seminars, read, participate in networks that provide industry knowledge, and meet with experts. Don't forget to complement your professional networks with personal networks of friends, like-minded women, and colleagues who will share experiences and knowledge, support you in the tough times, and celebrate with you over successes.
6. Celebrate the Journey
Recognize that success is not a one-time shot. It is about composing a life over time. Take the time to enjoy the journey and celebrate the successes along the way.
Stay open to serendipity--the joys and opportunities that appear unexpectedly in life--whether at work or in your personal life. Beware of missing or dismissing these opportunities because you are so focused on your day-to-day plan. Be open to saying: "Yes, let's try it and see where it leads."----Marla Tabaka
To read the original article, click here.
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