May 3, 2012 by Ilene H. Lang
Women are ambitious—and are growing more so every day. A recent survey found that the importance of a high-paying career increased between 1997 and 2011 by 10 percent for women aged 18-34 and 16 percent for women aged 35-64. These findings are in line with previous studies that busted the myth of a so-called “ambition gap.” Read more about this survey, plus the latest news on women and work, in today’s C This.
Catalyst Expands in India Inc.
I was in India recently to launch the Catalyst India Advisory Board. This new Board is composed of business leaders from India-headquartered companies and Indian subsidiaries of global multinationals, and offers strategic counsel on how to expand opportunities for women and business in India Inc. In this article, I explain why we’re expanding Catalyst’s presence in India, and give a nod to Wipro and Pitney Bowes—founding supporters of our work there.
Ambition & Family
Work-life effectiveness is important for both sexes—it’s not merely a women’s issue. The same survey that revealed a surge of career ambition among women also found that being a good parent was one of the most important things for more than half (56 percent) of women ages 35-64—an increase of 13 percent between 1997 and 2011. Furthermore, nearly half (49 percent) of men surveyed in this age group stressed the importance of being a good parent, a rise of 11 percentage points during this time period. Companies take note: the demand for work-life effectiveness is not going away any time soon.
Leading from the South
After Nordic countries, the Latin American/Caribbean region is leading the world in gender equality—especially in politics. UN Women recently ranked Cuba third in the world in the percentage of women in the legislature (the United States ranks 78th), and the region boasts five female heads of state. “Latin America is doing well,” said Begoña Lasagabaster, a UN Women political adviser. “It’s giving women a good level of education, and it’s starting to have some social policies taking into account the situation of women at work.”
Invest in Women
For years, Catalyst and others have been demonstrating a correlation between companies with more women on top and higher profits. Organizations are taking notice. Pax World Global Women’s Equality Fund is a US mutual fund that invests in companies that promote gender equality. “When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision-making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative and the organization is stronger,” said Joe Keefe, President and Chief Executive of Pax World Management and Pax World Funds. “It’s not just me saying this, it’s research saying this.”
Supercharging Take Our Daughters to Work Day
Taking our daughters to work is an important first step in developing tomorrow’s leaders. Citing a recent survey that found that 80 percent of girls want to interact with successful women—but only 60 percent have the opportunity to do so—Jennifer Allyn, a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, argues that companies should also introduce their employees’ daughters to women in the C-Suite. Doing so, she says, will inspire more girls to lead.