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Welcome To The Essential Feminine Blog

Women in Business — Today’s Needed Leaders

February 27th, 2010

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Rachel Ball (a lawyer at the Human Rights Law Resource Centre ( where seventy percent of the centre’s board are women) caught my attention recently.  It was reporting on a recent action by the French National Assembly approving a bill requiring listed companies to ensure that by 2015 50% of their board positions would be filled by women.  Her statistics for Australia state that women hold 8.3 percent of board director positions of ASX 200 companies and chair just 2 percent of boards.”  She goes on to say that, “Anyone who thinks that prevailing practice in board recruitment is merit based is kidding themselves.  Women make up more than 50 percent of the population, 45 percent of the workforce and are more highly educated than men.  There is no good reason why they should be so vastly under-represented in leadership positions.

Far from being merit-based, the status quo is discrimination dressed up as impartiality.  The elusiveness of meaningful equality can be partly attributed to the more insidious forms of discrimination that are entrenched in our institutions and social structures…”

She points out that “…Quotas are not the operational and financial burdens that they are often made out to be.  In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true.  Numerous studies have shown that companies with a higher proportion of women on their boards out perform their more male-dominated competitors.  Greater gender equality in the workforce also improves national productivity.  Equality and efficiency are mutually reinforcing.”

These findings are not surprising to me as they match with the research I have been doing into feminine attributes.  As women, we are predisposed towards qualities of leadership that are different from the usual masculine oriented leadership so predominant in business and politics today.  These qualities include collaboration, team building, creative thinking, intuition and peacemaking.  Because of the cultural environment we grew up in, these attributes have been devalued in our lives and often go unappreciated and undeveloped.  This is a disservice to ourselves and to the world we live in. 

We are now living in a world that is unbalanced and needs the qualities and gifts we, as women, can bring to it.  Not only will developing our attributes help us to live more satisfying lives but these attributes will help the world get into balance as well. 

Maureen Simon
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