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Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity & Inclusion Right

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Business
Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity & Inclusion Right

Join me Feb 10/22 at 1pm EST!

Diversity & Inclusion is good for you, for your community, and good for you organization. It’s the smart thing to do. Ignoring D&I can create many issues and challenges for organizational leaders. Join me as I talk with speaker, author, and award winning Diversity & Inclusion expert, Michael Bach, about his book “Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right”. Michael and I talk about:

a) Define some key terms associated with D&I, including a term you may not be familiar with – Intersectionality,

b) Is ‘reverse discrimination’ a real thing?.

c) The Social Justice and Creativity & Innovation D&I Models,

d) The development of the D&I Business Case, and all that it entails,

e) Measuring D&I Success, and

f) What gets in the way of D&I. It’s a very interesting talk with Michael, who really shines a different light on the D&I topic, and clears up some common misconceptions about it. He even clears a couple of for me. If you want your organization to be better at its D&I initiative, and understand why it may not be working the way you’d hoped, listen to what Michael has to share. Enjoy!

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Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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Business
Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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This blog is an excerpt from The Gender Equality and Governance Index.  It is the Executive Summary and is provided to supplement the interview with Amanda Ellis and Augusto Lopez-Claros, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled GEGI: Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations that aired on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021.

Gender inequality has myriad faces: archaic laws that codify sexism, male control of joint income and household assets, exclusion from governance, trafficking and violence against women, denial of education and adequate health care, and gender segregation in the workforce, to name a few. The scope of inequality is vast and its costs to society are mounting.

COVID-19 has prompted new awareness around this topic, as the effects of the pandemic have exacerbated existing gender inequalities and revealed the importance of female inclusion in governance and decision-making. The evidence linking gender equality to economic and social well-being and prosperity is clear. Now more than ever, we must prioritize the role of women in fostering communities’ and countries’ well-being and economic health by developing policies that guard against gender discrimination.

The Gender Equality and Governance Index (GEGI; Figure 1 provides the index structure and its various components) was built with the understanding that indexes—despite their limitations—are tools to generate debate on key policy issues, to precipitate remedial actions, and to track progress. A well-designed composite indicator thus provides a useful frame of reference for evaluation, both between countries and over time. The GEGI analyzes data from a variety of international organizations and valuable survey data to achieve a broad-based and comparative understanding of gender discrimination on a global scale, using five critical “pillars”: governance, education, work, entrepreneurship, and violence. By breaking scores down into pillars, the GEGI allows policymakers to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

The GEGI rankings for 2020 indicate a clear correlation between gender equality, economic prosperity, and inclusive leadership. Iceland ranks first in the world among the 158 countries included in the index, followed by Spain and Belgium. Canada (9) and New Zealand (16) are the only non-European countries to rank in the top 20. The highest-ranking country in East Asia is Taiwan (21), and Canada scores highest in the Americas. (See Appendix II for the rankings for the 158 countries included). Much further down the rankings, we find China (82) and India (100). Given that one out of three women on the planet lives in these two countries, gender inequality there is particularly troublesome. Sub-Saharan Africa makes up nearly one-half of the 50 lowest-ranking countries, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprise another one-third. Gender equality correlates strongly with higher levels of economic prosperity per capita, as 47 of the countries in the top 50 are either high or upper middle income. Rwanda (55) is the highest-scoring low-income country.

For the countries included in the index, higher levels of discrimination against women coincide with lower rates of labor force participation for women, lower rates of school enrolment for girls at the secondary level, lower numbers of women-owned businesses, and larger wage gaps between women and men. These findings should come as no surprise. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has argued that decreasing work-related gender inequalities can make “a positive contribution in adding force to women’s voice and agency,” thereby empowering women within both the public and private spheres.1 Countries that have integrated women into the workforce more rapidly have improved their international competitiveness.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life – and yet not a single country has yet achieved it. Worse still, only eight countries have a legal framework that does not discriminate against women in some way, with a body of legislation supporting women’s economic equality, which benefits everyone. Achieving gender equality requires more than simply removing barriers to opportunity. Many decades after the women’s suffrage movement, women are still grossly underrepresented in executive and policymaking bodies. For gender equality to become a reality, with all its attendant benefits, the first step is ensuring women are equally represented at the highest levels of decision-making across a country.

Gender equality in governance requires both de jure and de facto progress. The GEGI evaluates the legal framework of a country and measures the extent of female inclusion in governance. Less than 5% of countries have gender balance in political governance. Female leadership in the justice system, the central bank, and the ministerial and executive levels of government is crucial, but notably lacking. Only 21 countries currently have a female head of state or government; only 14 have female central bank governors. Only one in four Parliamentarians is female and one in five a Minister. In the private sector, despite well-documented research on the financial benefits of the diversity dividend, a third of global boards have no women at all. To remedy this, countries have begun implementing quotas, often as temporary special measures, that reserve representation for women. For instance, after Argentina saw success with a quota requiring a minimum number of female candidates in national elections, many other Latin American countries followed suit.

While attempts to solve gender inequality through legislation, inclusion in decision-making, and quotas are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. A critical prerequisite for female leadership in governance is education. Since inequalities in education artificially reduce the pool of talent from which companies and governments can draw, a direct way to boost economic growth is to improve both the quality and quantity of human capital by expanding educational opportunities for girls. Cultural attitudes against female education continue to prevail, and investment in girls’ education is still far below that of boys. For instance, the World Bank reports that only 38 percent of girls in low-income countries enroll in secondary school, and nearly 500 million women remain illiterate. Research has conclusively proven the importance of education in expanding opportunities for women outside the home and the positive multiplier impact for families, communities and economies. The most competitive economies in the world are those where the educational system does not put women and girls at a disadvantage.

Gender inequalities in employment are also toxic to economic growth because they constrain the labor market, making it difficult for firms and businesses to scale up efficiently. Globally, only 47 percent of women are employed in the labor force, compared to over 70 percent of men. This gap is most stark in South Asia and the MENA region, where just over 20 percent of women are in formal employment. Including women in the work force requires a multifaceted approach. Incentives to work, including paid parental leave and childcare services, have proven effective in increasing female labor force participation. However, many working women remain segregated in female-dominated fields that tend to be lower paid and have fewer opportunities for advancement. Women continue to be excluded from managerial positions, and no country has succeeded in ensuring equal renumeration for work of equal value.

Given that just 7 percent of women in low income countries are employed as wage workers, entrepreneurship and self-employment is an equally important avenue for female empowerment. Women entrepreneurs could contribute significantly to economic innovation and growth if given access to the same training, capital, credit, and rights as men. Women face severe difficulty accessing financial accounts and securing credit; in fact, estimates from the International Finance Corporation suggest that women entrepreneurs face a financing deficit of $1.5 trillion. Because women tend to earn less and have fewer property rights than men, they have a harder time providing collateral to obtain a loan. Restrictions on mobility and cultural disapproval of women in business further discourage women from pursuing entrepreneurship.

Despite—and perhaps in response to—the progress that women have made in governance, education, and employment, they are experiencing violence at staggering rates. Women are most vulnerable to violence in cultures where long-held customs and fundamental prejudices place the culpability for violence on the women themselves. The cost that society incurs from violence against women is high. Gendercide has become an epidemic enacted through sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, and neglect and abuse of women throughout their lives. The result is a destabilizing gender imbalance in many countries—in India and China alone, men outnumber women by around 70 million. Furthermore, abuse of women has direct economic consequences, as it increases absenteeism and lowers productivity. Domestic violence is estimated to cost the United States $460 billion annually, more than any other crime. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon, as reports of intimate partner violence have risen exponentially under mandatory lockdowns and quarantine.

COVID-19 has shone an uncompromising search light on global gender inequality, reminding us that gender discrimination has been undermining economic growth and wasting our human and planetary resources for far too long. The Gender Equality and Governance Index provides a scientifically evidence based, objectively verifiable diagnosis—now, action can no longer be delayed.

You can read the full report here.

1 Sen (1999), Development as Freedom, p. 191.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Authors

Amanda Ellis leads Global Partnerships for the exciting new ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Previously New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva (2013-16), Ms. Ellis also served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, playing a key role in New Zealand’s successful UN Security Council bid. The author of two best-selling Random House business books and five research titles on gender and growth in the World Bank Directions in Development series, Ms. Ellis is a founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment. She serves on a number of boards, including the Global Governance Forum.

Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Professor of Law, graduate of Yale Law School, and Founding Head of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, is a family law expert in both the civil legal system and traditional Jewish law, and has recently completed three terms as a member (twice Vice President) of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She publishes on family law in Israel, legal pluralism, feminism and halacha, and international women’s rights; is a recipient of numerous national and international grants and prizes. Professor Halperin-Kaddari serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Forum.

Augusto Lopez-Claros is Executive Director of the Global Governance Forum. He is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organizations, including most recently at the World Bank. For the 2018-2019 academic years Augusto Lopez-Claros was on leave from the World Bank as a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum he worked for several years in the financial sector in London, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. Educated in England and the United States, he received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University.

Women in Fintech = Good for Business

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Business
Women in Fintech = Good for Business

“The Importance of Gender Parity on Fintech Teams” was a vibrant discussion by Breaking Bank’s Brett King,  Fintech5‘s Jason Henrichs with guests Anouska Streets, Head of Engineering at FINkit  and Colleen Wilson, Founder and CEO of Collaborate Chicago

Women mean business.

It is estimated that women in the United States control between 52—60% of wealth. http://shurwest.com/2017/03/14/financial-facts-womens-history-month/.    The global business landscape is evolving as more and more women are entering the economic mainstream. It is estimated that within the next decade there will be three billion additions to the ecosystem as employees, employers, producers and entrepreneurs.  This group is often referred to as #3rdBillion 

There is disparity.

In terms of funding, King shared that 6000 male founders funded while 359 female founders got funding. CrunchBase research showed no growth in the past five years and only 17% of all startups have a female founder https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/19/in-2017-only-17-of-startups-have-a-female-founder/.

Women hold 25% of senior management roles in the Financial Services Industry.   Currently women hold 25% of jobs in computing and it has been declining since its peak in 1991 when it was at 36%

http://observer.com/2017/06/women-in-tech-statistics/.

The current market is sometimes referred to as the code economy because so much of business process is reliant on APIs and algorithms.

We need more women in finance. We need more women who code

Both Streets and Wilson believe that closing this gap starts as early as childhood when children are playing with toys and the cultural stereotypes. It isn’t simply boy/girl toys as children are more dynamic and need a matrix of options vs. binary choice.

Wilson shared an interesting point: that boys decide a career in IT in high school while women are more likely to choose a career in IT in their first job. The career path is not modeled as a viable option between fundamental ages 12-16.

Early Engagement & Modeling the Way :

  • Parents can ensure that their children are exposed to diverse toys and work to avoid stereotypes. Given the rise of the Maker movement there are so many project and building oriented games.
  • Modeling goes a long way to evoke in youth alternative careers paths. Increasing mentoring and shadowing opportunities will ignite possibility in others.
  • Keep vigilant about inclusion. Panels and events should have diversity representing expertise. Here is a list of women in finance curated by Innotribe https://innotribe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-PowerWomen-in-FinTech-Index-Bridging-the-Gender-Gap.pdf.

Imagery is both subtle and powerful. I am part of an innovation community called ROCgrowth https://www.rocgrowth.com/about2. Given our awareness of this gender we recently redesigned our logo. It is amazing how a simple silhouette changed the entire conversation.

Please let us know individuals making a positive difference in accelerating diversity and inclusion so that we can track and amplify progress.

 

Harmonizing Work & Motherhood: Can We Afford Not To? By Dr. Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Harmonizing Work & Motherhood:  Can We Afford Not To? By Dr. Kas Henry

Harmonizing Work & Motherhood:  Can We Afford Not To?

 

Women are an integral part of the global work place.  They are parallel thinking multi-taskers alongside their sequential thinking male individual taskers. Men and women solve problems differently and women are more prone to natural collaboration and seeking assistance.  A good balance of both male and female perspectives to ideas and solutions are needed for business success and the brain function studies seem to affirm that much needed gender balance.

 

Research shows that

  • Fortune 500 Firms with women Board members outperform their peers by 53% greater ROE
  • Women make up half of the U.S. workforce and comprise $5 trillion in purchasing power
  • Women make up a majority of the single parent households with children in the US
  • 80% of all US healthcare decisions are made by women
  • 70% of all major financial decisions in the US households are made by women

 

 

 

Women are daughters, mothers and wives.  As such they are the care givers of their families. They are required to juggle work, family, social obligations and taking care of themselves.  Women are considered “stay at home” and “not working” when they are not employed for wages but expend energy working for the family from morning till night for no pay.  When women work for wages, they take on a second job, a job outside of the home.  This job may not pay equal wages for equal work when a male and a female perform that same job, even in developed first world nations like the US.  In a system like the US, women are actuarially valued to be higher risk for healthcare as those naturally endowed to give birth.  So, we create a perfect storm, placing women to juggle work, life, family while making lower wages and paying higher insurance alongside making majority of the financial decisions and carrying a greater financial burden.

 

 

 

Other nations like Canada places high value in motherhood and gives mothers time off to care for their new born and support the family.  Those countries value early mother-child bonding and strong family as a foundation for building a stronger society that is socially engineered for lasting and prospering.

 

 

 

 

Then there are other nations across the world, like India, that cannot even assure the safety of the woman in the workplace where women could be sexually assaulted by her co-workers.

 

This is the spectrum of women in the workplace in our global economic environment.

 

No doubt, women have come a long way in the workplace, but there is more to be done and much continue to remain a conundrum. Women not staying in the workforce and leaving to raise families while be unemployed or under employed is not healthy for business or society.  Attracting, developing and retaining women in the workforce is important for the organizational succession plan.

 

How do we support women in the workplace?  How public policy, employers, co-workers, families and society as a whole come together to create harmony of work-life-family where women can bring their best to each situation is of utmost importance today, then ever.  Because, today we have a female workforce that is more educated than their male counterparts and we have more families with single mothers across the world.  How we support working women is the foundation for how we are preparing to groom our future generations being raised by these women.  

 

As the millennial generation and Gen Zs come of age, we are also seeing more men comfortable with the stay at home role as women with their better education become the primary bread winners.  The approach to dealing with the Women in the workplace will also need to be applied to the gender reversal we see emerging. Please join me and my guests, Allison Robinson and Christine Coyle of The Mom Project, to explore how best to harness the value of women and mothers in the workplace and continue to build that into the optimal approach for supporting families.

Unleashing the Feminine Energy to Shaping Our Tomorrows By Kas Henry

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Empowerment
Unleashing the Feminine Energy to Shaping Our Tomorrows By Kas Henry

Mother Earth.  Mother Nature. Mother Land. Mother Tongue.  All that nurtures and sustains our very existence as well as communication is referred to as ‘Mother” because as a human society, deep down at the core of our souls, we know that feminine power is undisputable.  Female power is necessary for shaping all that is around us.

  As a Hindu child, I was raised to believe that being a woman is powerful and comes with great responsibility.  Responsibility to nurture and support a family.  Be the energy and vitality that anchors both home and society.  For Hindus, God is part male and part female where the female aspect of God is called “Shakthi”, translated in English to mean Energy.  Therefore, the strength of a woman is expected.  The energy and strength of a woman brings each of us into this world. Without women, there is no life and most species will become extinct, including humans.  Given this undisputable fact, I continue to contemplate why women’s rights and women’s empowerment is something we have to take on as a cause?  Why is it looked upon differently than a Man’s given right?

 

I had the added advantage of being born and raised in Sri Lanka, a nation that gave to the world its very first female head of state from a modern democracy, Sirimavo Bandaranaake, in 1960.  Women were heads of households and women can be heads of states was my childhood reality.  However, as I grew older and travelled the world, I began to realize that was not the case everywhere.  I began to realize there were those who were into empowering everyone including women and then there were those who controlled everyone including women.  

That meant, I as a girl growing into a young woman, needed to learn how not to give over control of my very being and take charge of my journey in life.  A gift of life given to me by my God, who embodies the female energy, cannot be surrendered to insecure human beings who saw their path to success as controlling others.  Instead, I needed to seek the mentorship and support of enlightened human beings to help me fully reach my full potential.

Being an empowered woman means owning one’s journey and empowering others, both men and women, along life’s journey.  It is not about looking at anyone as the enemy but treating everyone as fellow travelers with a shared purpose of leaving this place, any place, better than we found it.  Empowered women ennoble others.  They bring out the noble qualities in everyone they touch.  Empowered women shape their path by continually transforming themselves and those around them.

Growing up in South Asia, it was engrained as part of our basic education that serving others in our free time is not optional or resume building but duty to society.  We were taught that our civic duty is what earned us rights in a democracy for self-determination.  This meant, I had the opportunity to engage in educating and empowering women as the pathway to empowering families and communities.

Basic literacy, finical literacy and other means of empowerment were activities I had the honor of participating in.  I must admit, those activities prepared me more for life than anything else because it gave me the opportunity to learn empathy, walk a mile in another person’s shoes and partner with them to strategize a better future.  I found my humanity and calling in that process.

With a young Dodderi Village girl during University Vacation where I spent the summer building a school and teching.  Dodderi village is located in the State of Karnataka, India.

 

The true wealth of a society is not measured in currency or material assets, but in how the women of that society are treated.  Be it education, healthcare, career choices, or life choices, when women are not free to make their own choices, the underlying society is not free and it is not truly capable of realizing its collective potential.  Should women get equal pay? Should women have the right to make their own choices with regards to their own bodies? Should women be punished when their bodies were violated? Should women’s reproductive health matter? Could women pursue any career they want without hazing or retribution? If these questions are asked in a society, it is an indication of that society not yet being free in the factual sense of the word.

 

Supporting women, empowering women and celebrating women is not solely dependent on the men in a society. Good and strong men already do this because they know that they need a strong woman by their side to face their own challenges. Alongside these good men, we women should stand shoulder-to-shoulder and pull each other up.  We can never forget that we hold our destinies in the palm of our own hands.  This week, my guest will be Traci Campbell, the Founder of BIBO, an organization focused on recognizing empowered women, celebrating their positive social impact and laying the foundation for a collaborative effort to magnify the goodness to make it contagious. Please join me on the show and call in with questions.  This is our world and it is our lives that we are transforming.  Let’s get engaged!

Equality of Moments By Ariel & Shya Kane

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Equality of Moments By Ariel & Shya Kane

April 12, 2017 – Equality of Moments
Each moment is rewarding – not just the “special” ones. When you’re Being Here and say “Yes” to what is happening, then even ‘ordinary’ moments, mundane tasks and events can be extraordinary. Callers welcome at Tel# 1-888-346-9141!

Listen Live this Wednesday, April 12th at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel

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