James S. Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the main subject matter is how to reform the world’s financial system.
Mr. Turley’s advice is to add diversity to decision making, and pointedly, diversity of the female persuasion.
In an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, he points out that
It is not just about adding a woman here or there. It is about building the critical mass that gives people the power to speak up, and to have their views heard. It’s not that women make better decisions, have a greater sense of risk, or can sniff out fraud better than men. But they tend to approach decisions differently than men, with different frames of reference. Not having enough women in positions of power and decision-making capacities has deprived major firms—and the global economy of the diversity in thinking and resulting positive outcomes, which were desperately needed then, and now.
He reminds us that
- Companies who have put women in top positions report significant gains. A recent report from research group Catalyst found that, on average, Fortune 500 companies with more women on their boards outperformed those with fewer women directors on a broad range of financial indicators.
- A McKinsey study showed that companies with three or more women in senior management scored higher than companies with no women at the top on a range of measures for organizational excellence.
- A 2002 report from the Conference Board of Canada, a research group, found that boards with three or more women were more likely than all-male boards to be thinking about risks and ensuring that conflict-of-interest guidelines and a code of conduct for their organization were in place.
What drives this country to maintain its glass ceiling, when such evidence exists that women in business would benefit both the companies they work for and ultimately the country in which we live?
If you’re interested in further reading, here’s a link to Ernest&Young’s “Groundbreakers, Using the strength of women to rebuild the world economy.”
And if you think it’s a stretch, you should consider what we ask of women already. . .
The U.S. Census Bureau released a report in August, 2007, that there are approximately 13.6 million21.2 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today).single parents in the United States today, and they’re raising.
Jennifer Wolf of About.Com assimilated the following data from the US Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2007. 17 Mar. 2008
- 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
- 16% of custodial parents are fathers
Of those Moms,
- 44% are divorced or separated
- 33% have never been married
- 22% are married (and mostly these are remarried)
- 1% were widowed
* 79% are gainfully employed
- 27.7% live in poverty . . . in case the math doesn’t come easy, that is 5,955,500 children living in poverty in the richest country on earth.
Only 31% of ALL single parents receive public assistance and 6% receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
Our greatest resource is our children, and women are expected to do whatever it takes to care for them and nurture them, in any and all circumstances, without a lot of help . . . And while we freely give them that responsibility and expect the best, we don’t ask women to manage adults? We don’t let them help improve the economy, when they obviously know how to live on less?
Organization skills? Codes of conduct? These single women with children don’t have to work to learn those things. They live them as a matter of course. And we could be using those skills to help us recover? Not take over from men, not take away.
Just help us recover.
I’ve been a single Mom for 16 years. I’ve worked all that time, gone to most every school function, have become known on a first name basis to most of my children’s teachers over the years, and all the counselors and principals at the high school my children attended.
I’ve worked longer hours than any man I know in my business, and stayed up more nights with sick kids.
And, I”ve been treated as “just a woman” at a lot of places I’ve worked. (When I was younger, I was treated as just a sex object, but that’s a completely different rant.)
You know, as Americans we won’t approach being an enlightened group of people until women are actually at the top, and the fact that our President is Black isn’t even remarked upon.