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Around the Web this Week
The German Central Bank published a pretty controversial research paper this week. In it, they state that “a higher proportion of female executives leads to a more risky conduct of business.” Clearly making a stand against quotas on boards… Really? What about the many studies that show women to be more risk averse than men, specifically in money matters?

As the Financial Times reports, the Bundesbank’s explanation is that women executives tend to be “significantly less experienced” than male counterparts, and that lack of experience drives risk taking. Furthermore, the study says “If group members come from heterogeneous backgrounds in terms of experience and values, this might increase the potential for conflict inside the group and hinder decision-making”. So basically, according to the study, women are a disruptive influence and an ideal board should only be filled by highly-educated men.

The Bundesbank economists even go as far as to suggest that “the presence of women in senior roles across the German banking sector was a contributing factor to the banking crash, alongside the bonus culture and lack of sufficient regulation.”

To put the study in perspective, Forbes lists seven central points. First, the scarcity of women on boards worldwide, and how men and women don’t agree on whether increasing the number of women in the boardroom will actually improve overall board performance (16% men to 55% women). Third, there are multiple studies that show that companies with the most women board directors outperform those with the least. Then comes the debate on whether we should just add seats to the board or change the ratio. Quotas and heterogeneity of board members are also on the agenda. Finally, Forbes says we have to make the difference between “experience” and “executive level experience”.

As the Huffington Post puts it, “while we're all leaping to conclusions, maybe an easier conclusion to reach is that, given the relative dearth of women in positions of importance at private and central banks around the world leading up to the crisis, maybe it was an overabundance of men that wrecked the financial system. It's no less ridiculous an idea.”

After all this, if you need a pick me up, listen to Avivah Wittenberg-Cox’s interview on Harvard Business Review: 

294__do_women_need_confidence____or_quotas_.mp3 Do Women Need Confidence or Quotas?  (12.32 Mo)

Around the Web this Week
A new infographic by OnlineMBA.net has been making the rounds around the Internet this week. It claims that good looking people command higher salaries, get more job offers, and live a better life overall because of their higher self-esteem. The infographic shows that women who are 70 pounds under average weight get paid the most, while the reverse is true for men. In the end, beautiful people will make $230,000 more over the course of their lifetimes. 

Of course, there are always going to be contradicting statistics. For example, one recent study which claimed that women who wear more makeup are more likely to get ahead, while another study showed some bosses think their employees wear too much makeup.

So let’s take a more positive approach to all of this, because let’s face it, there are things in your appearance you can’t change. And that doesn’t mean you’re never going to get ahead! Instead of lamenting, the Huffington Post suggests that you focus on a few other ways you can beat the statistics: smile, don’t bet on makeup, buy nice-looking shoes, work your network and learn to negotiate

Around the Web this Week
Over the last 15 years, in the U.S., women-owned businesses have been expanding at 1.5 times the national average growth rate for privately held companies, finds a new report. Growth in number, employment, and revenues for these female-owned firms has outpaced comparable rates at all but the largest public companies. The number of these businesses has grown by 54%, compared with the national average of 37%.

There are now more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses, which collectively earn nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ approximately 7.7 million people, according to the report.

Could it be that we are entering a new era for women entrepreneurs? Forbes seems to think so. It points to recent changes in technology that have made it easier for women to launch their business. Low-cost, cloud-based technologies have made it possible for many entrepreneurs to get by with a lot less seed money than they once needed and new sources of financing, like crowdsourcing, enable women entrepreneurs to bypass the male-dominated venture capital world altogether and raise money directly from their customers.

Technology is a democratization of opportunities” and it has helped women get over the obstacles that traditionally held them back.

If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, head over to the Daily Muse! They held a “Start-up Week ” and have lots of interesting articles on topics ranging from hiring your first employees, picking the right co-founders, what you should know about PR, and ways to find out if your business idea is a keeper

Around the Web this Week
New research indicates that the Millennial generation has a greater risk of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, than their parents’ generation did. And it seems Gen-Y women have it worse than their male counterparts as they struggle more to balance work and family. “With technology blurring the lines between work and play, it's easy for young people to work around the clock without even realizing it.”, Business Insider says.

Huffington Post spoke to Rachel Simmons, author of “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence,”  about the subject of workplace stress and how young women deal with it. “Stress is a big issue for girls and young women right now, in part because of the increasing expectation that women be all things to all people,” she said. “They’re expected to be really smart and hardworking and also have a great body, a successful partner relationship and be a great parent, sister or daughter. The sum of those responsibilities is crushing.”

And it seems women are not very good at mitigating office stress. Forbes reported that women were far less likely than men to take breaks during work hours, go out to lunch or go take a walk, perhaps a symptom of Type-A personalities and subsequent guilt about leaving their desks.

“One rationale is that men are more likely than women to do things that help their personal wellbeing at work, thus negating burnout, according to the Captivate Network. Men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to take a walk, 5% more likely to go out to lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks “just to relax.”

Bottom line is, if you want to perform in the long run, you have allow yourself to relax and stop having unrealistic expectations. It may just be that you have to redefine your goals and change the way you measure success

Around the Web this Week
Are you getting ready for the Augusta Masters next weekend? For the majority of us, it probably means nothing, but for all the golf aficionados out there, it’s a once-a-year event not to be missed. Maybe it’s time you paid more attention to sport as a career development tool! The Grindstone previously wrote “The corporate world may not be an old boy’s club anymore (at least not totally), but it still enjoys plenty of ties to its country club roots. That’s right, golf is still an important part of the business relationship.”

An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf. According to Barrons, one quarter of the 25 million golfers in the U.S. are top management executives and a full 80% of that number agreed that the game of golf is an important business development tool. Golf may just be the networking opportunity you’ve been looking for! Mostly because it is a sport where players are often standing around, which gives them ample time to talk shop.

And there’s been an interesting debate this week about the upcoming Masters. The Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament is being held is traditionally an all-male club. And it usually grants membership to the CEOS from its official sponsors (IBM, AT&T and ExxonMobil). But this year, the CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty, is female and a golfer. We’ll have to wait and see this week if Augusta will finally admit their first female member… 

Dimanche 1 Avril 2012

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