Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Still looking for room at the top: Ten years of research on women in the workplace

Jakkii says: International Women’s Day fell this week (March 8), and accordingly I have been reflecting on the state of women in business. In that context, I wanted to share this piece from McKinsey with you.

Since its first report on women in business, Women Matter, was published in 2007, McKinsey have continued to deep dive into women and representation in the workplace. For all the advances we have made with regard to diversity, inclusion and representation, we still have a long road ahead: McKinsey’s report shows that within the G20, a paltry 12% of women are on executive committes, and only 17% sit on corporate boards.

Sadly, the “case for change” apparently still has to be made, and McKinsey provide some discussion around three key points:

  • Correlations with company performance
  • Women lead in different ways than men
  • Global economic potential

They also discuss four important barriers to change:

  • Not just a glass ceiling
  • Lack of promotion
  • Domestic burden
  • Unconscious biases

And finally, the piece looks at two ways to accelerate change:

  • Tracking and accountability
  • Leadership from the top

I highly recommend you read this piece and reflect upon your leadership teams and your organisation, and perhaps take the opportunity to dive deeper still by reviewing some of the links found throughout the piece to their reports on the subject.


From Time’s Up to Inclusion Riders: Women take charge at the Oscars

Nat says: This week was the 90th Academy Awards which saw women in Hollywood come together to demonstrate their stance on feminism. This global display of unity just so happens to coincide with International Women’s Day which took place yesterday on Thursday 8 March, and with a report by Sydney University (where I’m based) regarding women and the future of work featuring in the Sydney Morning Herald. The women’s rights movement is however nothing new. In fact, many women have grown restless by the reality that we still have to fight for equal rights in society. I have chosen two reasons why I personally want to keep the conversation and the movement alive, as it is still very much needed.

Firstly, as a white western woman, I live in what is deemed a radically feminist society. Women elsewhere in the world are not afforded the same rights or privileges that I have been granted in life. Even my ability to express my views via this blog post is something millions of women in the world would not be able to do. In recent years, the women’s rights movement has been criticised for only focusing on ‘the first world’ and that we women in the West have no idea what true oppression feels like. However, those who see feminism in this light forget that we, as human beings that is, have the capacity to fight more than one battle at a time. We can fight for equality in our own backyard just as much as we can fight for it in other countries. We also forget that the rise of women in power in the West has the potential to help address the problems that other women face elsewhere in the world. If anything, feminism in the West gives a platform to the millions of voiceless women in the world who need to have their stories told so that we may act for change. Nothing means anything in this world if we don’t live a life in servitude of others. Those of us who have a voice and feet to act should do so precisely for those who cannot. The problem then becomes: how?

This brings me to my second reason for sharing this article, and that is because most of my time these days is spent in a male-dominated profession (academia) in another male-dominated area — a business school. It’s fascinating to observe the gender dynamics on display in such a context, and how the women involved have banded together to create their own support system such as ‘women in academia’ and ‘women in business’ community groups. However, the report shared by the SMH outlines that:

“Just 53 per cent of young working women expect to see an improvement in gender equality in the workforce in the coming decade, while a third expect women’s experiences to remain about the same.”

It seems that Frances McDormand’s call for ‘Inclusion Riders‘ during her best actress Oscars speech is something more businesses could be doing. We can only achieve equity (fairness) when we have equality — when everyone, regardless of their age, gender, skin colour, or social class, is afforded the same opportunities in life. This is what the role of an inclusion rider would be for, and perhaps this is where change can start today. We can all stand up and choose to be an inclusion rider in our current workplace contexts. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


How the Parkland Students Got So Good at Social Media

“And with a handful of tweets, the student-activists had overtaken another adult official’s narrative. They were in command of their own story once again.”

Emilio says: Just days after the mass shooting occurred in a school in Parkland, Florida killing 17 people – the 34th mass shooting incident in the US thus far in 2018 – a group of teenagers are leading the charge for gun control reform in America. These young folk, aged between 16 to 18, have survived the horrific tragedy – and they have launched a movement that is bringing local and global attention to the issue. Their main weapon is one they are adept at and know best how to use to gain support for their cause: social media.

In the weeks that ensued, their movement #NeverAgain has been gaining solid momentum with their leaders becoming overnight social media sensations. One of their spokespersons, David Hogg, for instance, now has a following of 438.6k on Twitter. Some of them have never used Twitter before and only created accounts when the movement began.

What I found most remarkable about these student-activists is not only their single-minded and resolute determination to create change and put pressure on their nation’s leaders to take action. It is their newfound purpose, awareness and voice in how they now use their social media presence. Where it was once for them a medium to chat and share jokes, memes and vacuous moments with friends, every social media post now has a higher purpose, which is to further their movement. And their maturity is inspiring.  As one of the student leaders interviewed for this article said: 

“It’s not just me tweeting whatever I want to tweet about. It has to be drawn back to who I am to the media, to who I am to the country.”

This brings me to the point of responsibility in social media, particularly for those who have built a sizeable audience online – something these kids weren’t taught but realised themselves.

The Parkland massacre might have claimed precious young lives – but it has also given birth to a refreshing brand of youth activism that wants to use social media to bring about positive change and for a greater good. 


Can tech giants really deliver good health?

Helen says: Google, Amazon, Microsoft et al, are on the move. Their next stop appears to be healthcare.

Technology has already contributed enormously to medical advancements, and tremendous opportunities still exist to further improve health outcomes for millions of people. Already here are devices that can summons drones to dispatch life-saving medical supplies (courtesy of Amazon) in an instant, and using algorithms to sift through millions of treatment options in seconds to identify the best course of medical action.

However, this article presents a rather disturbing picture of future healthcare if managed by business oriented, technology focused companies. Many of us are guilty of self-diagnosis courtesy of Dr Google, but are you ready to be assessed by a digital assistant triage nurse, have a brief encounter with the GP, or order your medication online (yes, via Amazon) and have it delivered to your door by drone? Will we be reviewing medical professionals like we do Uber drivers? And with our personal, health and lifestyle data becoming more accessible, will this information influence how we are treated and how much we pay?

Revisiting an earlier theme of mine, human connection is good for us, and in the interests of health, I hope that ‘human’ skills – so essential for quality direct patient care – continue to elude the genius that is technology.


Recognising women of the web

Anne says: This is not a new topic, but this week brings a timely reminder of women’s contributions to the technology advancements we live with on a daily basis that I’d like to leave you with this week.

Here’s a few to reflect upon:

Betty Holberton – UNIVAC made its desktop computers beige (not black).

Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler – web domains are ­categorized by type: .gov, .edu., .com.

Radia Perlman – spanning-tree protocol keeps Ethernet from crashing.

Janet Walker – web browsers have bookmarks.

And further women who impacted our lives through their technology skills and ability to contribute, yet are relatively unkown (unless they’ve been featured in a movie or TV series recently).

Elizebeth Friedman during World War II, who worked as a code breaker with her husband, influenced modern code breaking, and the principles that gave the NSA a head start in cryptanalysis.

Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson (featured in the recent movie, Hidden Figures) were three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA and were the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn, an achievement that shaped the Space Race.

Read more about them:

Sydney Business Insights – CEO Insights

Our regular featureThe Future, This Week, is juggling timezones this week, but you’ll be able to find it on the Sydney Business Insights website when it’s published. Instead, this week we’d like to point you to a recent podcast with the founder of Thankyou, Daniel Flynn.

Speaking with Sandra Peter, Daniel shares his thoughts on keeping up with experimentation in business, the role of technology, and changing consumer preferences.


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