Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success

Overview

You are not alone. Finally, here is a book that gets to the heart of what professional women want. You've probably been loath to admit it, but like most of us, you have had enough of the sixty-hour workweeks, the day-care dash, and the vacations that never get taken. You don't want to quit, you want to work—but on your own terms and in ways that make it possible to have a life as well.

Women have power. In Womenomics, journalists Shipman and Kay deal in facts, not stereotypes, ...

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Overview

You are not alone. Finally, here is a book that gets to the heart of what professional women want. You've probably been loath to admit it, but like most of us, you have had enough of the sixty-hour workweeks, the day-care dash, and the vacations that never get taken. You don't want to quit, you want to work—but on your own terms and in ways that make it possible to have a life as well.

Women have power. In Womenomics, journalists Shipman and Kay deal in facts, not stereotypes, providing a fresh perspective on the largely hidden power that women have in today's marketplace. Why? Companies with more women managers are more profitable. Women do more of the buying. A talent shortage looms. Younger generations want to work flexibly, too. It all adds up to a workplace revolution that is great news for professional women—not to mention men and businesses as well. As Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee, notes: “Companies need to recognize that this kind of flexibility offers employees the ability to manage and balance their own careers and lives, which in turn improves productivity and employee morale.” This new way of thinking and working is all the more valuable in a recession, as companies begin offering flexible schedules, four-day workweeks, and extended vacations as a way to avoid layoffs, save costs, and still reward employees.

It is personal. Womenomics does more than marshal the evidence of this historic shift. It also shows women how to redefine success, be productive, and build satisfying careers that don't require an all-or-nothing lifestyle. Most appealing are the candid personal anecdotes from Shipman's and Kay's own experiences and the stories they have gathered from professional women around the country who are coping with the same issues.

It is possible. Shipman and Kay don't waste time on what women can't do or can't have. Instead, they show women how to chart an empowering, exhilarating course to a richer life. Inspiring, practical, and persuasive, Womenomics offers a groundbreaking blueprint for changing the way you live and work—with advice, guidance, and fact-based support that proves you don't have to do it all to have it all.

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  • Claire Shipman & Katty Kay
    Claire Shipman & Katty Kay  

Editorial Reviews

Sheryl Sandberg
“Womenomics makes a compelling statement about the financial impact women can have in the workplace and offers valuable ideas for capitalizing on this trend, even in this economic climate.”
Diane Sawyer
“A personal, provocative and challenging book for career women who want less guilt, more life.”
Tina Brown
“Womenomics describes the workplace trend that finally makes it possible for women to be successful and sane at the same time. And happily, it’s a recession-friendly formula.
Daniel H. Pink
“Shipman and Kay have issued a rallying cry for women that is also a wake-up call for men. Our wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers are reshaping business as we know it. And that can make us all better off.”
Lois P. Frankel
“Without wasted words, Shipman and Kay provide practical suggestions for how you can take charge of your career with courage and confidence.”
Cathie Black
“Buy a copy of Womenomics for yourself, your best friend, your daughter, your star employee, and even your boss.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
“Employers should be listening to what talented women want and use this book to hold up their end of the bargain, so that the best and brightest can have both a job and a life.”
Dee Dee Myers
“Every woman who’s ever been knocked off course in the quest to have the elusive ‘all’ should run out and buy this book today!”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
"Employers should be listening to what talented women want and use this book to hold up their end of the bargain, so that the best and brightest can have both a job and a life."
Daniel H. Pink
"Shipman and Kay have issued a rallying cry for women that is also a wake-up call for men. Our wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers are reshaping business as we know it. And that can make us all better off."
Lois P. Frankel
"Without wasted words, Shipman and Kay provide practical suggestions for how you can take charge of your career with courage and confidence."
Cathie Black
"Buy a copy of Womenomics for yourself, your best friend, your daughter, your star employee, and even your boss."
Sheryl Sandberg
"Womenomics makes a compelling statement about the financial impact women can have in the workplace and offers valuable ideas for capitalizing on this trend, even in this economic climate."
Diane Sawyer
"A personal, provocative and challenging book for career women who want less guilt, more life."
Tina Brown
"Womenomics describes the workplace trend that finally makes it possible for women to be successful and sane at the same time. And happily, it’s a recession-friendly formula.
Dee Dee Myers
"Every woman who’s ever been knocked off course in the quest to have the elusive ‘all’ should run out and buy this book today!"
Publishers Weekly
Want to work less but achieve more? Coauthors Shipman and Kay argue that this is possible and desirable for women who like their jobs, but are tired of logging 60-hour work weeks and sneaking out to catch their children's Christmas plays during school hours. Kay and Shipman open the audiobook themselves by reading their introduction. Both women are broadcast journalists very experienced in narration. Why, then, do these talented women surrender the rest of the book to a third party? Gabra Zackman does a credible job with the remaining chapters, but her soothing tone seems out of place, and she has to begin alternating sections by announcing which author wrote them—a problem that didn't exist in the introduction, when both authors simply read their own material. Despite strong content, the delivery falls flat. A Collins Business hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 16). (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061697180
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 244,652
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Shipman

Claire Shipman is senior national correspondent for Good Morning America. Formerly the White House correspondent for NBC News, she has also worked at CNN, where she earned a National Headliners Award, among many other honors.

Katty Kay is the Washington correspondent for BBC World News America. She is a contributor on Meet the Press, Larry King Live, and The Chris Matthews Show, and a regular guest host for Diane Rehm on NPR.

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Read an Excerpt

Womenomics
Write Your Own Rules for Success

Chapter One

Womenomics 101

Once upon a time big bad corporations employed women because they were cheap, made good coffee, suggested diversity, and, let's face it, looked a heck of a lot better than most men. Times have changed. Forty years after professional women first stormed the corporate barricades, those same firms are looking at us and seeing dollar signs. They've discovered that women deliver profits, often in big numbers, and that we are very worth hanging on to.

This is not just wishful thinking. A whole host of business brains, from Michigan to Norway, have uncovered an "asset-to-estrogen" ratio, which suggests two things: more women at a company can mean more profit, and every company in the Western world would do well to treat their professional women properly.3 It turns out that women are incredibly valuable and inconveniently expensive to replace.

Your company needs you more than you realize and quite possibly more than you need them. The numbers we are about to give you prove that. Ready to crunch? Don't worry, we'll talk big picture; this is not an economics thesis. But these studies are so startling that we thought you could benefit from an up-close look at just how much power you have.

Pink Profits

The wise people at Pepperdine University realized it would be a good idea to take a bit of the emotion out of the debate about whether women are useful workers and chuck in a good healthy dose of economic analysis instead. They conducted a massive nineteen-year survey of 215 Fortune 500companies.4 The Pepperdine professors wanted to find out if companies with more women in top positions did better or worse than companies with fewer women. And, being economists, by better or worse they meant more or less profitable. This is a hard numbers game, remember. Do women help companies make money or not?

The researchers surveyed these companies every year with a complicated formula worthy of all their PhDs. They added points according to how many and how senior the women in the company were. They then took three different measures of profitability, since different industries measure their profits in different ways.

The results are little short of revolutionary. By every measure of profitability—equity, revenue, and assets—Pepperdine's study found that companies with the best records for promoting women outperform the competition.

Indeed the companies with the very best records of promoting women beat the industry average by 116 percent in terms of equity, 46 percent in terms of revenue, and 41 percent in terms of assets. We're not economists, but even we can see that, cut it whichever way you like, women are good for profits. (Indeed, the study was called "Women in the Executive Suite Correlate to High Profits.")

Professor Roy Adler, who conducted the study, believes one explanation for the high women-to-profit ratio may be that the high-performing firms do well because their top executives make smart decisions. One of those smart decisions is cranking open that heavy executive suite door to admit more women—well-educated and critical talent.

Now that, we reckon, is power in your well-manicured hand.

Still not convinced? These findings are not an aberration.

At the University of California at Davis, the graduate school of management concluded in 2005 that companies with women in top leadership positions have "stronger relationships with customers and shareholders and a more diverse and profitable business."5 The school concluded that "diversity of thought and experience in leadership is good business strategy." And that's the key—employing women is no longer a politically correct palliative to diversity. It is good business strategy.

The independent research organization Catalyst, which focuses on women in business, also conducted a study of 353 Fortune 500 companies in the late 1990s. They wanted to explore the link between gender diversity in top management teams and U.S. corporate financial performance. Catalyst, like Pepperdine, found that companies with the highest representation of women in senior management positions performed best. They had a higher return on equity and a higher total return to shareholders—higher by more than one-third.6

As journalists, when we start to read successive reports that come up with similar conclusions, we call it a story. When the results are this conclusive and this notable we may well even call it a headline.

As journalists we're also cautious. We can't say that diversity is the only reason companies with more women are doing better. Clearly there could be other reasons too. But there is indisputably a pattern here.

"Companies that recruit, retain and advance women can tap into an increasingly educated and skilled segment of the talent pool," says the Catalyst study. Let's look at that pool a bit. How much do you know about women and their talents? We were surprised.

In education:

What percentage of bachelor's degrees do women in the United States earn? 40 percent? 50 percent? No, try 57 percent. And what about the degree that really counts for professionals, the master's? Here too women are on top. Women earn 58 percent of all graduate degrees. Even in business, women are now over a third of all graduates.7

And at work:

Nearly half the American workforce is female and the recession means we'll soon be a majority.8 Women in management? 46 percent. At the extreme heights, the numbers are thin but rising. Women's representation in the senior ranks of Fortune 500 companies grew from 10 percent in 1996 to 16 percent in 2002. That's more than a 50 percent increase in just six years.9

And this recognition of female business clout doesn't stop at America's shores. In Norway the government has become so convinced of the value of women in business that the minister of trade has demanded that 40 percent of any company board be women—not to appear politically correct, but to make their firms more competitive internationally.10

In Britain researchers at Cranfield University School of Management now publish an annual index they call the Female FTSE (the UK's DOW), which measures the progress of women in the country's top companies.11 They too have found that companies with women on the executive management team outperform their less diverse competitors.

Womenomics
Write Your Own Rules for Success
. Copyright © by Claire Shipman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Great Title

    The book was purchased for a college research paper. Some of the points were relevant to the paper I was writing, but not most of the book. I was writing a paper on discrimination of women and this was more of a rah, rah book for women and all they can do.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    Insightful and Practical

    The authors get it! They live demanding lives themselves,and in a practical and insightful way they have captured the struggle that many women face today and shed light on how to lead a fulfilling life that is balanced in a way that works for you. It's about time!

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Informative Read

    Womenomics was written by two great authorities. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman are high profile and powerful women who have managed to make career choices that would allow them to have satisfying family lives. They give great advice to women who want to accomplish the same goal of being able to manage a successful work life with spending time with family. The stories and examples in the book work well in illustrating the author's points. Most of the stories come from more high profile and powerful women but the advice can easily be translated to more normal women in normal careers.

    Katty Kay and Claire Shipman write from experience and the advice they give can definitely be useful for any woman who is looking to manage a family and a career. I don't know how much this book will ever apply to me. I am not planning on having a children but that does not take away from the value this book would have for other women who have children or want to eventually have children. I also wonder if this book could also apply to men who have children. I know many men who work themselves to exhaustion at the sacrifice of time spent with their children. Could some of the advice be useful for them?

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