Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Double Standards? Perception or Myth We Have to Deal with it

Who holds whom to a different standard? There was an article published yesterday about the removal of Chief Financial Officer, Erin Callan from Lehman Brothers from her position after the lose of $2.8B in a quarter. The male COO/President was also removed from his position. The article raises questions as to whether women are dealt with differently and need to achieve higher results or judged more harshly when they fail, however the article doesn't say that Erin was treated inappropriately, but with so few women in high positions, when one is removed from responsibilities it does rapidly reduce the percentage of women in top positions.

I read in 'Why Women Mean Business' recently and was disheartened to learn that women aren't willing to apply for a job until their skills fit almost 100% with the job descriptioni, whereas a man will apply when he has 60% of the skills (NOTE: I need to confirm the numbers, but my memory has them pegged around that order of magnitude). If that wasn't bad enough hiring managers (didn't say whether malel or female) are interested in women's resumes when they have most of the skills in the job requirement but will show interest in men's resumes when they have a lot fewer of the skills for the job requirement.

So where does that leave us?

  • Have courage to apply for jobs we might not think we're suitable for.

  • Be confident in our applications.

  • And work our networks to get the best opportunity for filling the roles we want.

We could choose to wait for the world to become a fair place but that doesn't happen in our time frame.

I also recommend visiting http://careerwomaninc.com/ where Lisa Quast does an honest job of explaining how she has built her career to become Executive Vice President of Strategy for Royal Philips Electonics.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Repeating What Women Want - How is it Possible?

Here's a neat article on 'What Women Want' that documents the growth of the Lifetime Movie Network. This network launched in 1998. In 5 years it ended up with 4 million subscribers. It now boasts of 334K viewers in primetime network for 18+ women which is considered a prime segment. What I particularly like pulling from the article is this quote:

"Based on hundreds of focus groups and polls, Greco said, “Today’s woman, whether it’s real or perceived, feels like she’s really busy and has a fully loaded, hectic life.” Knowing that, LMN executives are attempting to portray and position the network as a TV destination that allows for a temporary escape. “It’s a place designed specifically for them, where they can take a break and escape, unwind, and have some personal time,” Greco said.

This again exactly maps to the philosophy of this blog - quick moments - that bring pleasure, and a break from everything else, where the experience is beautiful and the technology dissolves into the background. LMN has been experimenting with webisodes , they're getting into their strides with this. What other ways can we leverage technology to give us that momentary break and we can be immersed in the flow of the experience.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Rise of the Smart Phone for Women

An article published in the NYT today stated that the number of women who are purchasing smartphones has doubled to 10.4M in the last year. They are quoting newly released research from Nielsen Mobile.

Smartphone companies are starting to find women's sweet spot by targeting ads for their latest phones in Elle, Oprah, and Martha Stewart Living. A slight aside, is I've noticed in many 'House & Garden' type of magazines that in the beautiful glamour shots there is usual a photo of where the laptop fits into the house. These gadgets and technologies are part of our lives and if so they had better meet the beauty bar that the rest of female lives aspire to (note I use the word 'aspire' as so few of us achieve it.

I'm excited by what this power of gadgetry ownership will lead to - if there aren't a hundred companies out there figuring out how to provide 'quickmoments' for women on their portable smartphones then we're just not thinking right. For starters, how about reading the advice of the Download Squad on how to download books to your phone.

Hmmm... now when will my phone be able to give me a neck massage - wait there's an idea here - a massage phone accessory that plays a particular playlist while you relax and talk with a friend on the phone.

Anyone want to brainstorm on unbelievable services, accessories or more for the really smart phones?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Keeping Wired Women Working

Quick post about a new service called support.com. I found it on the money.cnn site. The article points out that each month a busy family probably spends up to 12 hours trouble shooting and maintaining their computer. This is quite a bit of time away from those 'quick moments'. The reason for including within scope of the blog is that they have a sweepstake going at the moment called, Wired Woman Sweepstake, to win a laptop and support services. They're obviously seeing an advantage of directing themselves at the female home decision maker - has providing technical support to the family now come up as a skill we need to have? The service is going to be featured in July's edition of Women's World Magazine.

So advice for the day is - back up your machine, you'll regret you didn't sometime soon no doubt according to statistics.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Ultimate Glass Ceiling Remains in Place

I can't have this site talk about getting more women into positions of power and decision making and not comment on Hilary Clinton not being the democratic choice for this fall election. Today in her concession speech she commented that not having been able to break the ultimate glass ceiling. Even though as Hilary said, "...we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it has about 18 million cracks in it", polls suggest that female democrats are very keen she should be on the ticket as VP. However while that may seem the next best title, does it carry as much decision making as a different leadership position in the senate?

I became a citizen just prior to the last election so I could vote. While my life is busy with work, family, and 'just stuff happening' (while also looking for a few quick-moments) I have to participate when I can in politics - if we don't participate we can't complain when change doesn't happen. Sometimes it's exhausting to participate but you do feel better when decisions are made that you did whatever you could to make a difference. Today Hilary is an example of someone who tried extremely hard to make change and she has made it happen in terms of making it a real possibility that a woman can be President of the United States.

Asian-Pacific Women Increasing their Control of Spend

At the Global Summit of Women (GSW) this week it was reported in China View that by 2014 women will control $516B. They are making their way to fill the openings in the job market and are well educated and living the single life style. The report was from Mastercard Worldwide.

In Hanoi, at the summit, the number of women starting small businesses was given. In the US the number is 40%, Europe a third, and China 25%, and Japan 20%. I always feel a wave of empowerment when I read about such events, the tide is turning and attention is being given to women in business. Alas as I move through the agenda I also read about "... and breaking the cycle of trafficking women and children." These are remain challenging times and there are many benefits to seeing women make their way forward and upward in business to make change happen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Glut of Women in the News and Making News

Lots of things of interest here. First the website - Newsonwomen is a neat find - a website that is focused on Women in the News. There's nothing more empowering some days than to read about a slew of women who are succeeding, if in doubt about how to succeed take a look here and be inspired. The article that caught my attention is related to a kickoff event called, 'Women Making a Difference in Digital Media'.

While looking at the presenters at the event I found out about Natalie Del Conte and 'Loaded', Natali kicked off an online series around CES season earlier this year. I've just taken a glimpse at a couple of the daily episodes. Its fast, happy, and an E! type of presentation but of technology. Natali does a nice job of presenting the facts and also has quick insightful one liners about 'her' perspective on the technology, position, or whatever. Her philosophy is generally that there are a lot of technology shows about the 'specs' but not about the 'personal experience', she hesitates when saying that women are more attracted to the personal experience as she doesn't want to offend but honestly I think she's onto something. It has the lightweight appeal of glamour mag show, but actually is informative and just the sort of information you might need to have to drop in a technology conversation, or appear tech savvy - but the great part of it here is it is consumable by non-hard core geeks, and will help you stay up to date, with the added refreshment of a female commentary.

Worth taking this podcast to the gym (now if only I could findmy podcast player wire to connect to the PC, and figure out how to download the podcast, and remember to have it charged when at the gym.... any solution for that anyone???)