WOMAN: AS A MOTHER, WIFE AND PUBLIC SERVANT

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It is a fact that women nowadays are already internationally known as an 'all around homebody'. She may be a wife, a mother or a popular public servant.

In my country, nobody can question the legacy that every woman can give: be it to her family or the society. A woman who can do the job well-done is somehow a 'super woman' but it is happening around us. It is because, women are becoming career oriented while being a doting mother and as a submissive wife. Though submissive, because ours is a paternal society, yet, her decision-making can be firm and referred-oriented. 

She can be a public servant in many ways. Many health workers in local Health Centers are married women. Politics is not behind, it can be her advocacy to join the wagon of women in politics joining the world that used to be for men only.

 

 

 

Tags
Impact of Women in Society

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

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http://www.unfpa.org/resources/issue-7-women-empowerment

Women follow this link, so educative and inspiring. 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

2014 World Council Survey on Women's Participation in Credit Unions

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World Council of Credit Unions conducted a survey on Women's Participation in Credit Unions in 2014.  The data was provided by 36 out of 46 respondents (78%) who were women from national CU associations.

Survey summary:  

  • Average percent of women members of credit unions: 43.8% (34 countries)
  • Average percent of women board members in credit unions: 27.5% (29 countries)
  • Percent of women CEOs of credit unions: 15% (30 countries)

Further details can be found in the Member Services folder of the Resource Library.

2014 WOCCU Survey: Women in CUs

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards/Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Member Service, Program Updates

Vote on Scholarship Projects

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I've just had an opportunity to review the proposals that were submitted by the 6 scholarship applicants.  I have to say I am so proud of each and every one of these ladies. The hard work and dedication that is required to not only prepare the proposal but the effort that will be necessary to implement them is a measure of their commitment.

I just wanted to congratulate these women on a job well done.  I wish you all the best of luck!

Tags
Events, Impact of Women in Society

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

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Kudos to the credit union community is more gender diverse than many industries. Filene Research Institute released a study, Women in Leadership: Obstacles and Opportunities, earlier this year, which states that two-thirds of CEOs at credit union with less than $50 million in assets are women. However, in the $100 million to $500 million range, the figure is only 20%, and at more than $500 million, the stat is just one in eight credit union CEOs are women. Globally, male CEOs dominate credit unions of all sizes. Then there’s this directly from the April report: Women comprised only 41% of credit union senior staff in 2012 despite making up 70% of the credit union workforce in the U.S.

The reasons for this vary. Certainly many women make legitimate decisions on the home front that they feel they can’t or don’t want to balance with a career. Filene’s April 2014 study noted that fewer women aspire to senior management. But it also found that employers nudge men and women in stereotypical directions that lead women to areas of the business that are not considered senior management track departments. For example, the head of HR is typically considered an “appropriate” role for women. Or marketing (which should be considered much more important than it generally is, but that’s another discussion).

What perpetuates the stereotyping? Society? Some basic evolutionary instinct? Whatever the cause, it needs to end. The statistics don’t need to move closer to 50-50 out of a sense of fairness. Diversification is not an equal rights issue. It’s a business continuity issue. Continuity in the sense of prosperity and the fact that there will not be enough qualified Gen X men to fill the spots vacated by those who will be retiring over the next decade. According to a University of California-Davis report, among the 400 public companies in California, the top 34 firms with the greatest gender diversity at the senior management level earned three times more revenue and 50% higher profit than the average company in the study.

In order to move toward greater equality and prosperity, we must acknowledge and educate. Part 2 of Filene’s research series is coming out next month, Credit Union Women in Leadership International Research Series Part 2: Attributes and Challenges. Filene is hosting a colloquium to discuss the results of the next survey on June 19. As of this writing the event had 68 registered attendees, only four of who are men and one is a professor at the University of Southern California where the event will be held. Go West!

Women’s issues are not just women’s issues. They are your business issues, your daughters’ and your wives’ life and career issues. It can be uncomfortable for men to address the issue of gender. I applaud the men at Filene like Mark Meyer and Ben Rogers for tackling this issue. Some male executives might be afraid of saying the wrong thing so they bury their heads in the sand, but Filene and the handful of men attending their colloquium are lassoing this issue that is bucking just under the surface to obtain a better grip on the future of the workplace, leadership and how it can improve credit unions.

“If you’re not aware of what the data says, then it’s easy to put it aside,” Rogers explained of Filene’s research. If it’s not in your life experience, it’s easier to turn a blind eye. True leaders read the landscape, saddle up and ride that pony—not off into the sunset but into the sunlight. Do you have the spurs?

By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

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At Mudi SACCO we have just had our Annual General Meeting for 2013 on 26th April, 2014. Being a female General Manager for this SACCO, I am very happy to see, my fellow two women scooping two seats in the Executive BOD of four, making it 50-50. All the past years it has been men only or just one lady in the executive. Indeed, its time women we need to break the ceiling. "WE CAN". Sisters, share your experience at your Organizations/C.U/ SACCOs.
Tags
CU Boards/Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Program Updates

Take Time to Ask, What's Up, Doc?

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I never go to the doctors. I know that's bad, but I'm relatively young and never had any health issues before. It's a waste of a lot of time (and money) to go for annual physicals only to have the doctor tell you you're fine, which you already knew. It's like asking a meteorologist what the weather is currently while standing next to an open window.

But you never know what's brewing over the horizon. As I'm rushing headlong toward 40 in the next couple of years, I'm finding it's not so hard to take the time as I previously thought. This is in part because I have come to realize the world does not fall apart if I spend an hour or two at the doctors every once in a while. Or when I finally determine a day or two when I can take time off, I actually make an effort to take the time off.

Women tend to take care of everyone but themselves, whether it's kids or parents or significant others. They insist any of those loved ones go to the doctor's office immediately or take it easy when they're not well, yet women do not require the same of themselves. Many work full time, come home often to do most if not all the domestic chores, volunteer, and run kids to various activities in the evening.
Given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that stress-related illnesses were twice as high in women than men, working women's health is of particular concern. Work-related stress was also linked to heart disease, muscle and bone disorders, depression and burnout. In fact, job stress affected immunological biomarkers in a test performed on female nurses. In addition, 1 in 8 adult women binge drink and a large percentage come from homes with $75,000 or more in household income. Women also feel nervous-or at least admit to it-more than men. The National Health Interview Survey by the CDC found that women felt nervous most if not all of the time in the 30 days running up to being interviewed for the study, while 12% of men said they did. And yet women's life expectancy increased. We must be tougher-go figure.

Women may be able to out-multitask men, but that doesn't mean we always should. Take time off to see the doctor or to kick your feet up with a glass (or two) of wine. How much damage can the men really do while we're away?

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Re-Imaging Work

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I recently received the link to this video.  It's thought provoking and perhaps could start conversations about usage of technology helping women by providing the flexibility that so many of us need and if done properly by organizations will allow us to take advantage of that flexibility guilt free.

"How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem – and could it also be part of the solution? Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open, collaborative and flexible working culture."

Tags
Impact of Women in Society, Technology

Women on Board: Credit Unions Seek Volunteer Diversity

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Great article in the CU Times today.  Some of our sisters are featured in this article that focuses on  the benefits of having women on boards, some of the barriers women are facing and ways to remove those barriers. 

http://www.cutimes.com/2014/02/12/women-on-board-credit-unions-seek-volunteer-divers?eNL=51520a1b140ba0ed7800006c&utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=eNL&utm_campaign=CUT_eNLs&_LID=161803213

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards/Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society

Overcoming Barriers to Leadership for Young Women

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I've posted a great document in the Resource Library.  The Conference Board of Canada published this briefing by Naoko Hawkins called "Overcoming Barriers to Leadership for Young Women".  The focus is on the barriers that millenial women are facing in advancing in leadership.  There is great food for thought here and I feel it is applicable for all women, not just millenials.  Take a look and let me know your thoughts!
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Motherload Documentary

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This 45 min Canadian documentary on motherhood aired on CBC earlier this month and can be viewed free online.  
It explores the growing demands of motherhood combined with the growing demands of the workforce while systems, workplace structures, and societal norms haven’t changed much from the beginning of the industrial revolution.  I'd be interested to hear from our sisters outside of North America to see if these experiences are similar for them too.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Women on Boards Improve a Bank's Performance

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An interesting article that supports many of the studies being done out there about diversity within the workforce improving performance of businesses.  Take a look. 

http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/women-on-boards-improve-a-banks-performance-1063776-1.html?ET=americanbanker:e17789:651912a:&st=email&utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AB_Intraday_112013

Tags
Impact of Women in Society

Hard Working Spirit.

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Let me share this quote by Colin Powell " A dream doesn't become reality through magic; It takes sweat, determination and hard working" Sisters, Whatever situations we are going through in our CUs, let us remain focused to achieve our goals. Women are considered achievers because of hardworking spirit instilled in us. I am proud to say that in my country Malawi, the Board President for our National Association(MUSCCO) is a lady. "WOMEN CAN DO AND CAN DO IT BETTER!"

Tags
Impact of Women in Society

Putting that POV in Perspective

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Sometimes it's hard to believe, but over time society has become a much less violent. In general, murder rates have gone down. One thing that has not changed in some places is the treatment of women. Unbelievably almost, child marriages still take place and bride burnings and acid attacks are nearly as common.

The myriad stories Sheryl WuDunn chronicles in her book, Half the Sky , co-written with her husband, fellow-Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof, have helped her to appreciate what she has while still fighting for more for women around the world: More freedom, more healthcare, more food, more respect. Just more.

Following her address at the Global Women's Leadership Network during the World Council of Credit Unions ' Annual Meeting, I had the privilege of sitting down with Sheryl to discuss the book, American women's career advancement issues, life and, yes, credit unions."What I really liked was that the credit union was founded on the principal of microsavings," Sheryl explained about why she was attracted to speak to the credit union group. Half the Sky is fraught will stories of women who gain access to capital and enabled to build a better life for themselves and their families, overcoming conditions unimaginable in the U.S. Take for example, Goretti Nyabenda of Burundi in Africa, who disobeyed her drunken husband to form a CARE group, which brought women together to talk about their circumstances and pool their meager funds to take turns borrowing from the pool of funds. Additionally visiting nurses provide basic healthcare and HIV testing. Goretti bought fertilizer with the money she borrowed from her CARE group to improve her potato crop, which served her very well. She was able to expand her banana beer business and to buy a pregnant goat that brought her another goat a few weeks later and milk. At night the goats come into her family's home to sleep so no one will steal them. This is Goretti's success story.

The tale from halfway around the world certainly puts things into perspective for women in developed countries like the U.S. dealing with workplace challenges. Those are still very important and working women still deserve greater progress, but the story of Goretti and others in Half the Sky helps ground us. Microfinance in developing countries is also an area where WOCCU and credit unions can have a significant impact, and already are.

What Goretti learned and built herself with was a network. Female professionals must do the same. It's time to stop taking pity on Goretti, and take a lesson from her. Sheryl WuDunn emphasized this point with me during our conversation. "You need to be a part of a network and networks only work if there's trust among the network," she emphasized. Women who achieve success also need to realize that they have to help the women below them on the corporate ladder in order to stay on top.

It's a point the Sheryl Sandberg also made in Lean In. Some of the well-established female executive built their careers during a time when it was fashionable to have a token woman among the senior ranks-but only one. That led some to keep other women down.The modern female executive must keep in mind, as Sheryl WuDunn added, "You don't get to stay on the top if you don't build support from the bottom."

She continued, "Everybody's heard of the old boys' network and that was very effective...Women just want other things that they can talk about and build camaraderie around." It's human nature that people feel more comfortable around other people like them, but female managers must be careful to expand their networks beyond other women. Sheryl advised that networks should be co-ed because we can all learn a lot from each other.

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke

Publisher/editor-in-chief of CU Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society

Documentary Viewing

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Servus Credit Union Women's Network recently held a viewing for it's members on the Jennifer Siebel Newsom documentary called "Miss Representation".  We had a terrific turnout from our network members and started a great conversation around women's portrayal in the media.  This has been the third time I've viewed this film, but it never gets old.  The first time was at an International Womens Day event, the second I watched it at home with my family and most recently with our network. 

I've had time to reflect on the message of the film and thought about how media impacts our roles within the business world.  It would be easy to say that the lack of women in senior roles or leadership positions lays solely at the door of the media, but that would be blatantly false and unrealistic.  Within the documentary the director contradicts herself by quoting Marian Wright Edelman "You can't be what you can't see".  She then has Condaleeza Rice stating that all of the women pioneers, including Sally Ride - the first American woman in space - didn't have another woman to look up to.  That they simply had a drive to do something they were passionate about.  We need to stop waiting for other women to break down the barriers that we see or perceive are out there and start taking responsibility for what we see as failures within the corporate world. 

While we may not be getting the help we need from the media in showing our young women and men what 'real women' look like or have the ability to be, we have to take responsibility for our own actions.  Ultimately, it's my responsibility to show my daughter that her appearance - while important - isn't more important than her intellect, or her personality. Or that the women she watches on Jersey Shore are most definitely not to be emulated.  I don't necessarily believe that not watching certain shows will wake up  media into changing their programming. What this film does provide however, is an awareness. I feel having an awareness of what's being portrayed is almost more important. It allows us to have these conversations, to steer our children (both male and female) in the right direction and provide the guidance that we should be offering and not leave it up to the TV to do that.  Perhaps, by building confidence and allowing them to see that women are just as powerful as men we'll start to see more women within leadership positions. 

Anyway, that's enough proselytizing from me!  Check out the film, it's a great conversation starter.  You can purchase the DVD on Amazon for about $20.

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

"Feminine Values" are helping tomorrow leaders

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Here is a recent article regarding the increase of focus on "feminine values".

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/08/research_male_leaders_should_think_more_like_women.html

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

"Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership" By Alice H. Eagly and Linda L. Carli, Harvard Business Review (2007)

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The full article from The Harvard Business Review can be viewed here: http://citt.hccfl.edu/Newsletters/NewsletterID1.pdf

Both of these women are writers, researchers, and professors of psychology. Studying the findings of these two women during my time at UW-Madison has compelled me enough to share this piece with you. 

Starting out with jaw-dropping statistics that many of you may not already know, Eagly & Carli propose that the "glass ceiling" has shattered--but the challenges are far from over. They argue that it has shattered because there are some women who are now able to permeate through that glass--at a cost. They relate the current challenge of women leadership to pursuing a labyrinth, with "walls all around."

They state: "As a contemporary symbol, it conveys the idea of a complex journey toward a goal worth striving for. Passage through a labyrinth is not simple or direct, but requires persistence, awareness of one's progres, and a careful analysis of the puzzles that lie ahead" (pg. 2). 

The richness of how Eagly and Carli convey the obstacles that make up the "labyrinth" of women's leadership is informative, and covers deep-rooted gender dynamics that many people haven't come to terms with yet. Most importantly, in my opinion, is the obstacle they describe called the "double bind," which is a term that describes the pulls and tugs on women to completely embody both communal "caring" leadership style, while also being agentic and sturdy. If a woman is to lean too far in one direction for a moment, the criticism will begin and the stereotypes start reinforcing themselves. Studies have investigated this phenomenon, about whether this "double bind" exists for men leaders, and results found overall that "men can communicate in a warm or dominant manner, with no penalty either way" (pg. 4). 

Lastly, Eagly and Carli provide us with a list of valuable management interventions that can actually work in aiding other women's journey through the labyrinth. These interventions are essential, to say the least, and should be shared amongst women in management roles and beyond. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would highly recommend their book: "Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders" (2007). One reviewer, Chris Nicholson, expressed Eagly & Carli's book eloquenty: "Too often the beliefs people espouse make gender inequalities seem natural by justifying 'accidents' of history that have assigned men and women uneven roles. 'Through the Labyrinth' (2007) is not one of those books." I couldn't agree more, Chris. 

My questions for the Network:

  1. Have you tried to help implement these interventions that the authors provide us? Which do you see have the most potential, and why?
  2. Further, what do you think of the claim that the "glass ceiling" is no longer the most valuable way of describing the obstacles in women's leadership?

Thank you,
Sarah Timmins
Intern, World Council of Credit Unions

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Assertive

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The cover letter on a Government Accountability Office report to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee states that women comprise nearly half of the workforce at 47% as of July 2010. While the number of women earning college degrees has tripled between 1970 and 2008, the letter read, they are less well represented among management. The GAO cited the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, which found that female officials and managers in the private sector increased from just over 29% in 1990 to 36.4% in 2002. Women must do their own legwork to raise our collective stature beyond the height of our pumps in 2013.

Between 2000 and 2007, male to female ratios in management was flat across 13 sectors, the GAO found. In 2007 women accounted for 40% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers, while figures from 2000 indicate women represented 39% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers.

The GAO also found that female managers in 2007 had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers. A lot of these factors are very personal choices and they all can be for very noble reasons. It’s nothing anyone else can decide for you. You’re welcome to the sisterhood if and when you’re ready.

But when your personal journey leads you toward career aspirations, do it right. When a job a level up becomes available, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t just hope to get recognized. Management wants someone who can demonstrate they’re a leader and can assert themselves. Gather advice from mentors and colleagues, pull up your big-girl pants and go for it.

Not only are women underrepresented in management, but pay differences also continue to tug at our skirt hemlines. On average, married female managers earned the majority of household wages, but her share was smaller than the average male married manager; this statistic held steady between 2000 and 2007, according to the GAO. The pay gap did narrowed slightly between 2000 and 2007. After taking into account factors such as education level, the GAO estimated that female managers earn 81 cents to men’s dollar in 2007. This was up from 79 cents in 2000, and varied depending upon the sector.

The authors of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating recommend asserting yourself in salary negotiations from the start. A study of Carnegie Mellon University graduates discovered that male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a larger starting salary than female students. The authors stated that was, in part, due to women’s poor negotiation skills or foregoing it entirely. They cite the experience of Maria Dorner, CEO of NewsMD Communications when early in her career, she took her mother’s advice: “You need them more than they need you.” She quickly learned this was the wrong strategy for valuing her work. She asked for double and got it only to learn that a male counterpart had just asked for and received triple. That might be a bit of an extreme example, but the idea is 1) know what you’re worth in the market that you’re in; and 2) be sure to assert yourself to achieve a fair goal. You are worth it—to yourself and your employer.

By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief, Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards/Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Networking, Member Discussions

The Rise of the Executive Feminism

| 4 Comments |
I thought I would share this interesting article from the Harvard Business Review.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

Strong Enough for a Man, but Made for a Woman: Leadership Development and Style

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Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was one of my favorite books I read in high school. It's a satire of the craziness of war and the phrase ‘catch 22,' meaning being caught in a no-win situation, came from the novel. "Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them," it reads. "If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to." This epitomizes female executives' leadership progress.

Jean Lau Chin wrote in her Forum on Public Policy Online article, "Women and Leadership: Transforming Visions and Current Contexts," that women are stuck in a Catch-22. Assertive behavior from women is frowned upon but not being assertive only lead to being ignored. "Contradictory portrayals of women leaders pose obstacles to how they lead, and often result in different standards than those applied to men. Women leaders are alternately portrayed as ‘soft and ineffective' or ‘domineering and manipulative,'" she wrote. Definitely sounds familiar to me and I'm sure some of you reading this.

Fortunately modern leadership trends tend more toward women's collaborative in nature. Chin noted that their collaborative skills are "increasingly central to views of effective leadership." A variety of contemporary leadership theories, she contended, could help to mitigate unintentional discrimination, including:
• Contingency or situational leadership theory is based upon the idea that various situations require different types of leadership;
• Shared leadership and empowerment; and
• Transformational leadership that is more value driven, ethics based and social change oriented leadership.

Appropriate leadership development can help women progress into leadership positions and be successful when they reach them. Robyn Ely, Herminia Ibarra and Deborah Kolb wrote in, "Taking Gender Into Account: Theory and Design for Women's Leadership Development Programs," that women's career trajectories were not on par with the men's among graduates of top business schools. Females' advancement in their careers has even slowed in recent years, they wrote. So the group set out to design training programs that don't merely "fix the women" so they can play the men's game, but also provide women the tools to do the "identity work" to become true leaders. Developing a leader identity involves internalizing the leader identity and developing an elevated sense of purpose for the work your organization is doing.

Women naturally seek to be authentic, which may not align with what is necessary to become leaders. Women prefer substantive careers and that can run counter to becoming the professional they can be. Ely and her associates recommended investing time and effort into strong 360-degree feedback and coaching to help women executives see how they are viewed by their bosses, colleagues and subordinates. Ely reported that many who had gone through this process were shocked at how low they were ranked by executives. After letting that settle, then the women are advised on how to improve their performance or better promote the work they really are performing.
What do you think? Are you willing to submit to this type of review, or is it just crazy?

 

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times

 

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions

Lean In: Controversial or Conclusive?

| 2 Comments |

As female leaders in the corporate world, I'm sure Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In, has caught your attention. Whether or not you agree with it, this book by the female COO of Facebook is receiving a great deal of hype and is certainly relevant to our Network's goals.

If you have not had a chance to read the book, I will start with a brief summary. Lean In is the expansion of a message Sandberg introduced during the TED talk she gave back in 2010, titled "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders." Her presentation of data from all over the globe proves one point- women are not occupying an equal amount of top leadership positions to men in ANY field in ANY country. This extends to politics, the corporate world, nonprofits, and other fields. Although women have climbed in numbers in most sectors since the 1960's, their figures have stagnated in the last ten years and some are even decreasing. She highlights prejudices society still holds against women in the workforce and the ways in which women may also hold themselves back. To combat these problems, Sandberg proposes several ways women can change their approach, including "Sit at the table," "Make your partner a real partner," and "Don't leave before you leave." "Sit at the table" refers to women taking what is theirs and believing that they have what it takes to move up in the company, because "no one gets to the corner office by sitting on the sidelines." She points out that, according to statistics, women systematically underestimate their abilities while men tend to overestimate theirs. She thinks that if women become more confident in themselves, there will eventually be more of them at the top. Referring to "make your partner a real partner," she states that in order for it to become easier and more acceptable for women to rise to the "C level" jobs, it will have to become more acceptable for men to become "stay-at-home dads" as well. Working mothers currently spend significantly more time doing household chores and rearing their children than their male partners do, and a more 50/50 arrangement between couples would help keep women in the workforce. Finally, she talks about "not leaving before you leave," which refers to not leaving "the game" mentally before you actually need to leave for a child. This means that women who may be planning to get married or have a child at some point in the future should not pass up opportunities in anticipation of these life changes, but should "lean in" instead. By "leaning in," a woman can seize valuable career opportunities that will raise her income and make her job more challenging, which will in turn make it more likely that she will return to the workforce afterward.

After her book was released, I noticed a barrage of opinion articles by women with negative reactions to Sandberg's message, mostly on the grounds that it is "irrelevant" to the majority of women. Many decry the fact that she is a millionaire who can obviously afford to pay for childcare, unlike many women in the workforce. Others say she isn't relatable because she assumes most women have a "partner" to make into a "real partner," which many women don't. Still others have said that she is warping the feminist cause by shifting the blame for low numbers of women at top levels to women themselves instead of society. Some have compared her book to "The Feminine Mystique" in the sense that it only relates to a small, affluent part of the population.

For all the scorn she has received from opinion columns on Fox News, Forbes, and others, I believe there are certain axioms from her speech and book that transcend race, income level, and marital status. To dismiss her point of view as unique to only her life situation is truly a shame. When a male business mogul writes a book about how to become successful, it is hardly thinkable that men would discard his ideas simply because they are not relevant to every single type of man. Sheryl openly admits that her advice is not suitable for everyone and that the workforce isn't the right place for every woman, but she has many suggestions for those who choose to stay. I take issue with the fact that people say she blames women for their own misfortunes. Her aim is to empower us in our professional lives by asking us to own our strengths and successes more forcefully. She relies heavily on data in her speeches so she can highlight the fact that that gender bias still exists in our society but that there are ways women may better equip themselves to overcome it. Sandberg believes that having more women in charge would make the world a more equal place and would very much like to see this happen through a change in attitudes toward gender roles.

As I listened to the TED talk and skimmed her book, I could not help but think about the Global Women's Leadership Network's mission. Utilizing Sandberg's ideas could build women up and cause our Network could expand greatly. What are your thoughts on Lean In's message? Would you apply it in your own credit union or cooperative? If so, how?

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards/Volunteers, Financial/Risk Management, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations

Join our Linkedin group!

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The Network is happy to announce that we now have a group profile on LinkedIn. You can search for us under "Global Women's Leadership Network (World Council of Credit Unions)" or click here to see our page. Please join the group and feel free to start discussions on our wall. We also invite you to share the group with other women leaders in the credit union industry. Non-members are welcome!

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Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards/Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

PBS Special on Women

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In honor of International Women's Day, we would like to alert you to the fact that PBS aired a special last week on "Women who Make America," which is available online at this link.

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Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Impact of Women in Society

International Women's Day

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What did your Credit Union do to celebrate International Women's Day??

 At Servus Credit Union in Alberta Canada, the Servus Women's Network held a lunch and learn for all of our network members to commemorate this occasion. We had approximately 85 employees comprised of Men and Women who attended this event. Our guest speaker was our Chief Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility Officer Gail Stepanik-Keber. The presentation shared valuable information and statistics on how Women reshape the business world. The event was well received and employees are looking forward to many more valuable presentations and networking sessions in the future.

 I also had the opportunity to attend 2 external International Women's Day events in my home town of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The first event I attended was a screening of a Sundance Film Festival documentary called "MissRepresentation". This is a must see film for women and men of all ages. The content is US based however provided thought provoking information on how social media effects the behavior and development of our society. Here is the link to preview the film: missrepresentation.org

The second external event was a fundraiser called "The 1000 Women, A Million Possibilities".  This movement is managed by community members working together to maximize the potential of college students for the benefit of our city, province and world.

I curious to see how other women across the world celebrated this special day. Please share your experiences as the Servus Women's Network would like to explore ideas for events for our organization throughout the year.

Thanks!

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Events, Impact of Women in Society

Ladies, Get Ahold of Yourself

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When you hear the phrase ‘emotional intelligence,' my biased, knee-jerk reaction is that women are superior. However, when you dig down into what comprises emotional intelligence, they aren't necessarily.

In the article, "The Emotional Intelligence of Leaders" that appeared in the publication Leader to Leader, Daniel Goleman outlines five dimensions (cue Aquarius) of leaders: Self-awareness, manage emotions, exhibit optimism, show empathy, and stay connected.

Somehow when society shifted from hunting and gathering to a formal work place, the philosophy followed that personal stuff stays at home. No emotions at work. The truth is that's impossible. Whether you've got a big report due for the board or you're having difficulty finding the right person to fill a position, it causes stress, and humans respond-well or poorly-to stress. And these feelings trickle out to your team.

Men tend to get angry about their anxieties because they see it as a weakness, and men hate that. Their anger is conveyed overtly or in subtle ways. Women tend to become unsure of themselves and, thus the goal or the means to it. When a leader is unsure, that uncertainty affects her ability to lead people anywhere. And then there are the women who try to play 'like the men.'

Being tuned in and accepting what your feeling allows you to slow down, consider what's going on, the environment and the ramifications. You feel in control, and so you're optimistic that even if something isn't going as planned, you can adapt to change the outcome. You don't berate or blame others; you just find a solution or scrap the project as necessary.
I participated in a very intriguing LinkedIn discussion in a professional women's group asking whether participants preferred male or female bosses. The comments I read were heavily weighted toward preferring male bosses. Huh?

Maybe women aren't as emotionally evolved as they think. Many of the commenters described the cattiness of their female bosses. Perhaps the female bosses were feeling threatened by the up-and-coming talent, and after all they'd worked for, they weren't going to be shown up by the young blond in the slightly short skirt.

This is not a game we should be playing because no one's going to win. Your people make you look good, so let them shine, male or female. Keep them engaged and be engaged in what you're doing. If you're doing that, 1) you're not going to be threatened, and 2) hope that you've cultivated a loyalty there that can serve your business, and even you personally.

Sarah Snell Cooke 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times 

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Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, CU Boards/Volunteers, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Networking

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