Why Women Mean Business / Edition 1

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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470749500
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/23/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 706,170
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is CEO of 20-First, a leading genderconsultancy, Publisher of 20-first.com and a global expert on howbusinesses can gender balance to get the best out of bothhalves of the talent pool and both halves of the market. Sheis also the founder and honorary president of the EuropeanProfessional Women’s Network, and a certified executivecoach. Elle Magazine recognised her as one of the top 40 womenleading change. She lives in France with her husband and genderbalanced children (a son and a daughter).

Alison Maitland is a journalist and commentator who hasbeen writing about women and business for over a decade. She spent20 years with the Financial Times, latterly as Management Writer. Aregular conference speaker and moderator, Alison is a SeniorVisiting Fellow at Cass Business School in London and directs TheConference Board’s European Council for Diversity inBusiness. She lives in the UK with her husband and twodaughters.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Niall FitzGerald KBE xiii

Preface by Michael Kimmel xv

Acknowledgements xxi


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


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


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


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 vision126

The building blocks of bilingualism 130

1 “Getting it”: top management commitment 131

2 Management bilingualism: proactively managing difference132

3 Empowering women: the knowledge and networks to succeed133

4 Banning bias: identifying and eliminating systemic bias fromcorporate systems and processes 134


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


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


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


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


New voices, new choices 302

New measures of success 306

A challenge for business 309

Index 317

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Insightful look at women and the global economy

    Avivah Wittenberg-Cox and Alison Maitland have carefully gazed through the gender-equality kaleidoscope and then turned it slightly - giving readers a refreshing view. Treating women as a workforce minority is no longer acceptable; nor should executives manage them in the same way as their male counterparts. Women are different from men, and their work and leadership styles reflect this difference. Treating women like men, or trying to "fix them" so they will advance in a male-centric work culture has not been successful, as demonstrated by the dearth of women in high leadership positions and on executive boards. Therefore, company leaders must reframe the gender debate and repair their biased systems. This book tells them how. getAbstract considers it important reading for human resources directors and corporate leaders, who may be heartened by its assurance that organizations that become "gender-bilingual" will find solutions to many 21st-century problems.

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