Friday, 18 October 2013

Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers

"Even when CEOs make gender diversity a priority—by setting aspirational goals for the proportion of women in leadership roles, insisting on diverse slates of candidates for senior positions, and developing mentoring and training programs—they are often frustrated by a lack of results. That’s because they haven’t addressed the fundamental identity shift involved in coming to see oneself, and to be seen by others, as a leader.

Research shows, the authors write, that the subtle “second generation” gender bias still present in organizations and in society disrupts the learning cycle at the heart of becoming a leader. Women must establish credibility in a culture that is deeply conflicted about whether, when, and how they should exercise authority."

Authors Herminia Ibarra, Robin Ely, and Deborah Kolb outline the case that organizations should take three steps to promote gender diversity: educate women and men about second-generation gender bias, create safe "identity workspaces" for women, and encourage women to define their development in relation to leadership purpose rather than gender stereotypes. This topic is one of increasing importance in the 21st Century workplace and the authors have added thoughtful insight to the debate.

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