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Getting back to basics with women in leadership + book giveaway!

Yesterday I was at the airport rushing between cities when I felt that dehydration setting in… so I stopped at one of those mega vending machines to quickly buy a drink.  Can you believe there were literally dozens of different drink bottles on offer and – as the final calls were being announced – I quickly decided on a bottle of “vitamin water”.  I couldn’t read the fine print on the label to see exactly what was in it, except for some bolded words that read “the only thing artificial is the bottle” so  I figured it must be a healthy option.

It was only when I was seated on the plane that I pulled out the bottle and realised this was one of those turbo charged energy drinks that people like me just shouldn’t be allowed to drink!  There, printed on the yellow label in fine print were the words “citrus (b+caffeine+guarana)”, and beneath it was a list of all the “natural” ingredients in this “formulated caffeinated beverage” including natural caffeine and a warning that the produce is not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women or individuals sensitive to caffeine…

It left me thinking that while some things may be natural, that doesn’t mean they’re good for us. 

Which in turn got me thinking that not everything you read is what it seems.

I’ve observed this with a number of organisations quoted in the media as being great advocates of women in leadership, yet who have only one or two women on their extensive boards.  Their executive teams follow the same patterns as their boards and it’s only really at team leader level and below that they live up to their hype of equal gender representation.

It’s also the case for many employers that make the EOWA employer of choice citations, which I’ve recently been reviewing for a research paper I’m writing on women in leadership.  This citation is certainly well intended, but I question its validity in identifying those companies that are going above and beyond in their advancement of women.  For example, numerous companies on this list have only one female director on their board.  There are professional services firms who’ve been cited repeatedly, yet fewer than 20% of their partners are women.  And there are companies who use their citations as a recruitment tool for attracting talented women, yet their executives rank have only the ASX200 average of female representation.  So you’re left wondering what’s really “special” about these organisations.

I bet there’s stacks more employers out there doing great things for the advancement and retention of women, and more importantly the promotion of their female talent into their highest level roles.  Yet perhaps they’re not on the EOWA citation because of all the red tape this  process this entails.

Maybe we need to get back to basics when it comes to advancing women as leaders.

So I wonder, is there something you know that I don’t about who’s really getting some runs on the board in this regard?  I’d love to hear from you – post a comment here on this blog and you can win a copy of Women on the Move: How you can create your place in the world, by Sandi Givens – we have 5 copies of this book to give away

PS: don’t forget to include your email when you post your comment so we can get in touch with you!

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