Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why Women Mean Business - Excellent New Book

If the lack of women in positions on power in FTSE companies concerns you - then do read this article in the Guardian today from authors Avivah Wittenberg-Cox and Alison Maitland.

Why women in business became the solution, not the problem

Their new book, Why Women Mean Business (see the links below for UK and US) is due out next week and highlights an important point we have been promoting for a while now in GenderShift. It is no good companies thinking that women will adapt to the male culture, to attract top women into business, it is necessary to change the culture so that it is more attractive to women.

This interesting extract from the article highlights many of the reasons why women are not better represented in large organisations.

A multinational company was concerned that only 5% of applications in Europe came from women. It assumed that its technical, sales-oriented business did not appeal to them. Its recruitment advertising showed a young businessman with dark suit and briefcase, and the text spoke of the need for aggression, dynamism and competitiveness. The company decided to change the ad, featuring its own senior women instead. The text contained messages about enthusiasm, innovation and audacity. The application rate from women jumped to 40%. (The Guardian Financial 5th February 2008 p.23 )

Women do business differently to men, but with more than 60% of graduates being female and 80% of spending decisions being made by women, can any business now afford to ignore the needs of women. Failing to respond to the changing demands of women will prove fatal to businesses because apart from isolating themselves from the majority of the talent pool, women as buyers are increasingly disinclined to buy from male dominated organisations.

But more importantly, this extract highlights the difference in language. Certain words carry a masculine overtones and they will often invoke a negative response from women. The problem for a male dominated business is that they are likely to use masculine language without really realising they are doing so because, in my experience, men tend to be less aware of the way in which language discriminates.

Click on the appropriate link above to read details of the book,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw this book at a women's business network last week.