Why Japan’s Talent Wars Now Hinge on Women

Why Japan’s Talent Wars Now Hinge on Women

“The majority — 65 percent — of our new recruits are women,” said the head of a foreign multinational I was working with in Japan last week. “We’re just going for the best, and the women are better educated and more mature.” Many foreign multinationals operating in Japan are beginning to understand that gender balancing historically [...]

The Real Battle Line on Gender? Men Versus Men

The Real Battle Line on Gender? Men Versus Men

“I put my neck on the line for her, and now she’s coming whining into my office saying she’s not sure she can do the job??!” My friend, one of the most senior businesswomen in her country, is irate. She is the only woman on the Executive Committee of her global company, and has just [...]

The Trouble With Targets

The Trouble With Targets

“There is nothing more absurd than having a target of 49.1% women in management,” exclaimed a manager in a big consumer goods company (which, in disclosure, is a client of mine) in Sao Paolo last week. There are few things in business less popular than targets for a fixed percentage of women in management. Men [...]

Babes Beyond Boards

Babes Beyond Boards

We’ve been making some progress on balancing boards. Less on the layers below and the crucial leadership pipeline. As our 5-country survey of Boards and Executive Committees of the world’s top companies reveals, Western companies are duly reacting to the pressure for more gender balance on boards. But what of the reality inside companies? The [...]

Your Company Doesn’t Need a Women’s Network

Your Company Doesn’t Need a Women’s Network

Another women’s conference finds another predominantly female group of HR Directors seeking to improve the gender balance in their firms. In reality, women are working far too hard at an issue actually beyond their power to solve. Corporate leaders must recognize that additional women-dominated efforts are not the way to get companies to take the [...]

Male Bosses Need to Speak Up for Gender Balance

Male Bosses Need to Speak Up for Gender Balance

Does anyone else find it strange that the debate heating up in the US around gender imbalances in the workplace is overwhelmingly a conversation among … women? This constant frame of gender as a “women’s issue” is one of the big obstacles to progress — in both countries and companies. Is there any doubt that [...]

Loving Sheryl Sandberg. And Wishing She Would Lean In

Loving Sheryl Sandberg. And Wishing She Would Lean In

The blogosphere is alive with the sound of the sisters dissing Sheryl. TIME magazine’s cover invites us “not to hate her” because she is successful. Not to mention the fuss over Marissa Meyer’s reverse flexibility order at Yahoo and the harm she is doing to American mothers. So what’s up? We don’t hate these ladies. We [...]

Where Both Parents Can “Have It All”

Where Both Parents Can “Have It All”

I was taken aback when I saw the Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo, one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. Then I was shocked by my shock. I realized it was the first time in my life that I had ever seen depictions of fatherhood in art. Here, all around me, were depictions of masculine [...]

Women Don’t Need to “Lean In” More: Powerful Men Need to Reach Out

Women Don’t Need to “Lean In” More: Powerful Men Need to Reach Out

Seventeen percent of Davos attendees are female this year, and Sheryl Sandberg was one of them. Her explanation for the dearth of women in leadership positions is that they don’t “lean in,” also the title of her upcoming book, due out in March. “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking [...]

Can You Push Diversity Without Creating Resentment?

Can You Push Diversity Without Creating Resentment?

Sometimes the biggest issues aren’t even part of the conversation. I was speaking at The Economist’s Diversity Summit last month in London where most of the talk was about gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and scorecards. A typical syllabus among Heads of Diversity. But a far cry from the diversity issues I hear preoccupying the executive [...]

3 Diversity “Best Practices” That Hurt Women

3 Diversity “Best Practices” That Hurt Women

The issue of gender balance in corporations often seems unnecessarily complicated. A lot of the trouble has been caused by the legacy of a couple of decades of well-meaning but ineffective solutions. These solutions are still too often presented as ‘best practices’. Yet they don’t work, and their repeated application makes many managers incredibly gender [...]

Are Middle Eastern Businessmen Less Sexist Than Europeans?

Are Middle Eastern Businessmen Less Sexist Than Europeans?

OK, I must admit, getting invited to the Middle East to work on gender balancing seemed a stretch. Landing in Dubai, I was already steeling myself for a muscular session. I’d just been totally grilled by a Southern European Executive Team the week before. I wasn’t feeling like another assault of skepticism and denial of [...]