Interesting Thoughts to Ponder

From www.mercurynews.com, 11/9/07: 
Women directors outearn male counterparts
Bloomberg News
Article Launched: 11/08/2007 01:47:06 AM PST

Women corporate directors, outnumbered by men 8-to-1 on company boards, earned about 15 percent more than their male counterparts, a new study about compensation trends concluded.

Overall, corporate board directors’ pay increased 12 percent this year, reaching a median of $100,000, according to a report released Wednesday by the Corporate Library, a Portland, Maine, research firm.

The finding that women directors make more than men is "most certainly surprising," report author Paul Hodgson said. Besides nursing, "it has to be the only area of the U.S. economy where this is the case."

The pay increase was linked to new rules on executive compensation disclosure, the report said. The Securities and Exchange Commission last year ordered companies to provide more information about pay for their top executives and directors. The regulations are designed to help shareholders compare practices among publicly traded companies.

Because far fewer women hold board positions, companies may be putting them on more committees, adding to their pay, Hodgson said. The Corporate Library hasn’t formally studied the reasons behind the trend, he said.

All of the 25 highest-paid U.S. board members were men, the study found. The best-compensated director was William Greehey, who was paid $28.5 million in 2006 as chairman of Valero Energy., the largest U.S. refiner.

The study took compensation information on more than 25,000 directors from July 2005 to July 2007 and compared the data between the two 12-month periods.


From the Web: 6/24/07: 

Fewer Moms Are Working: Policies, Attitudes Are Implicated

By Deborah Perelman
5/11/2007 2:47:00 PM

In 1948, only 17 percent of married mothers participated in the work force. In 1985, this rate had grown to 61 percent, and continued its climb through the next decade, reaching 70 percent in 1995. Yet in recent years, the work force participation of married mothers, especially those with young children, has stopped its advance, found a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in April.

While 70.9 percent of all U.S. mothers, married and unmarried, now work, the participation rate is down from its peak of 72.3 percent in 2000.

Though factors that stand to contribute to the decline in work force participation of mothers range from weaker job market conditions (including slow earnings, fewer job openings or fewer family-friendly policies), demographic changes, changes in cultural or societal attitudes (such as placing a higher value on stay-at-home moms) to shifts in personal preferences, the BLS found the decline in labor force activity of mothers couldn’t be fully answered by economic means.

Instead, it suggested that a leveling-off in the number of working mothers might have more to do with employers’ policies and individual attitudes.

Much recent research backs this up. A survey released May 11 by Chicago-based CareerBuilder.com highlighted working mothers’ struggles with balancing their jobs and relationships with their children, along with how far they’d be willing to go to address the problem. Twenty-five percent of working mothers said that they were dissatisfied with their work/life balance and 44 percent said they would be willing to take a pay cut to spend more time with their children.

"Career moms should keep in mind that compensation isn’t the only thing that is negotiable. … From mother’s rooms to flexible work schedules to job sharing to on-site daycare, companywide initiatives to accommodate and even encourage employees to balance work and family life are becoming commonplace," said CareerBuilder.com Chief Sales Officer Mary Delaney.

An ongoing poll on Monster.com finds that the majority (60 percent) of workers, both men and women, don’t think that their organizations are friendly to working mothers.

Another survey, released May 10 by Adecco, a staffing firm based in Glattbrugg, Switzerland, finds that women who overcome office scheduling hurdles with the help of company-allotted flextime have a second challenge to overcome: the resentment of male co-workers.

While 44 percent of working mothers said that flextime helps them be more productive, 59 percent of working men felt that this flexibility causes resentment among co-workers, with 36 percent saying that it negatively affected team dynamics and 31 percent arguing that employee morale took a hit.

"American workers realize the abilities working moms possess, but our survey findings show that employers have some work to do to manage the perceptions and attitudes many employees have toward the special arrangements provided to working moms," said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco.

Check out eWEEK.com’s Careers Center for the latest news, analysis and commentary on careers for IT professionals.

Copyright © 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Report: Tech’s Gender Gap Widened by Uninviting Workplace

By Deborah Perelman
5/14/2007 4:28:00 PM

For years, word has circulated of a significant gender gap in the technology workplace, where women are greatly outnumbered by men.

The blame is typically placed on low interest on the part of women to pursue computers and engineering, but the actual experience of women working in technology is rarely addressed. A report released May 14 stands to shift this perception by drawing attention to the fact that tech workplaces may not be the most favorable environments for women to work in.

The vast majority of women working in the field of technology enjoy their jobs, finds the "Women in Technology 2007" report published by WITI (Women in Technology International), a trade association, and Compel, a management consulting and research firm. Of the survey’s nearly 2,000 female respondents, 75 percent said that they would encourage other women to pursue similar interests.

Yet, female tech workers have mixed feelings about their companies’ climates, with only 52 percent believing that their organizations offer a favorable one for women.

"There is a kind of conventional wisdom that goes around that maybe women don’t like technology. So, for us to learn through this research that they do like it and do find it to be a place where they can make a difference and would go as far as to recommend it to others is very telling," Patricia Schaefer, president of Compel and co-author of the report, told eWEEK.

"What was very intriguing was that such a large percentage of women said that they didn’t find their organizational climates to be very inviting to women. They’re saying that they don’t feel that their voices are heard and it causes them to question whether this is an environment that they wish to stay in," said Shaefer.

Difficulties getting ahead

The report found that women in technology-related fields desired more influence in this typically male-dominated arena, and drew attention to the difficulties they faced. Many expressed that their input and presence was less in demand than that of their male co-workers, with half (48 percent) feeling that their views are not as acknowledged or welcomed as that of their male counterparts. Nearly half (44 percent) also expressed that that women in their company received fewer invitations to participate in and lead large projects.

Though female tech workers largely (73 percent) felt confident that they could influence their bosses, significantly fewer (53 percent) described themselves as broadly influential in the organization. A little over half of the respondents felt that they were in control of their careers.

Shaefer said that the data that emerged from this research represents and good news/bad news scenario.

"The good news, despite conventional wisdom, is that women are highly energized by technology as an arena where they can be creative and find meaning. The bad news is they don’t necessarily perceive technology organizations as inviting places to pursue their futures."

Women at the top feel differently

Female CIOs had notably different impressions of the technology work environment, based on individual in-depth interviews. For instance, the women CIOs consistently described careers replete with taking on risky projects, crafting an inspiring vision, aligning teams and forging ahead in the face of adversity.

Yet, despite these female CIOs citing role models, coaching and support networks as being essential to their success, 46 percent said they do not have a mentor in their current company. Just 27 percent said their companies had formal women’s mentoring and networking programs in place.

Suggested directions

The report found that most technology organizations have not developed disciplined programs to support women employees.

"If there is a single message to technology companies and functions, it’s the need to get serious about committing resources to women’s career development initiatives," said Dr. Barbara Trautlein, an associate at Compel and co-author of the report.

Check out eWEEK.com’s IT Management Center for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management.

Copyright © 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.careers.eweek.com/article/Report+Techs+Gender+Gap+Widened+by+Uninviting+Workplace/207458_1.aspx  


"Madonna says that Hillary Rodham Clinton should “go for it” and run for president. “In Europe and Asia and elsewhere, women have ruled over millions; it’s not an abstract or frightening or out-of-the-box concept. But in America, men are still afraid of women. And women, I don’t think, trust women. I find that amazing,” she said, reports ContactMusic.com. “[Rodham Clinton] should go for it, definitely. I don’t think maybe now is her time, or the Democrats’ time, but she should certainly go for it. You’ve got to start somewhere in terms of women leading the US.”  . . . "
From MSNBC.com, March 9, 2006
 
A New Swedish political party fighting for equal rights, Feminist Initiative- F! for short. For more info., go to www.feministisktinitiativ.se
From Ms. Magazine, Fall 2006


From www.abcnews.com on 2/8/07:

ABC News

Science: Feeling the Gender Gap Firsthand

Having Worked in Science as a Man and a Woman, Ben Barres Has Experienced Its Gender Divide From Both Sides

By JUJU CHANG

Sept. 27, 2006 — – Ben Barres is a world-renowned neurobiologist, whose quiet demeanor is off-set by the twinkle of intensity in his eyes.

With an M.D. from Dartmouth and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Barres is a respected scientist who is known on the Stanford University campus as a great mentor, especially to women.

IN TOUCH: Send Your Video Comments

Barres, a staunch feminist, is deeply offended by the insinuation that women are less talented in science. That may be because Ben Barres spent 40 years of his life as Barbara Barres.

Growing up, Barbara Barres was a tomboy and math whiz who wound up at MIT, despite the fact that her high school guidance counselor discouraged her from applying there.

It was the 1970s, when only 11 percent of MIT’s students were women, and Barres described the atmosphere as occasionally sexist.

Once, Barbara Barres solved an equation the professor had designed to stump the class, and was the only one who got it right. But the professor didn’t believe a woman could solve the puzzle.

"He looked at me with sort of this disdainful look and said, ‘Well, your boyfriend must have solved that for you,’" Barres recalled.

Barbara Barres didn’t get credit. And yet, it was the accusation of cheating that got under her skin, not the blatant sexism.

"It was only years and years later that it occurred to me, ‘Gee, this was sexism,’" Barres said.

It’s possible the sexism didn’t register because Barbara Barres never really identified with women. "I certainly did not feel comfortable wearing makeup, wearing jewelry. High heels, things like that, were agony," Barres said. Ironically, the only problem she couldn’t solve was deeply personal.

As Barbara Barres in college, she dated only briefly, Barres said. "If anything, I have weak attractions to men. But I really don’t have strong attractions to either sex," Barres said, describing himself now as a contented bachelor. His passion, aside from science, is roasting his own coffee, which fills his kitchen with a rich aroma.

Receiving More Accolades as a Man

Today Ben Barres seems comfortable in his skin, but his was a long journey toward self-discovery. It took a breast cancer scare and a mastectomy when Ben was still Barbara to make Barbara realize she’d been living in the wrong body for 40 years.

"I remember that my doctor was kind of horrified at my suggestion that he cut ’em both off while he was at it, and another doctor, a year later, saying, ‘Well, don’t you want to have reconstructive surgery now?’ And I was like, ‘No, I am not gonna let anybody put those things back on me.’"

It’s been 10 years since Barbara Barres became Ben Barres, with hormones and surgery. And Barres’ unique perspective has turned him into a fervent crusader in the debate over whether gender matters in science. In one of the first lectures after his sex change, Barres spoke at MIT.

"Afterward, somebody who was familiar with the work of Barbara Barres apparently was heard to comment, ‘Gee, that Ben Barres’ work is so much better than his sister’s.’" The person said this, evidently not realizing that Ben and Barbara were the same person.

That’s a telling anecdote about the way men and women are perceived in the field of science. "There is a presumption that work being done by a man is better than work being done by a woman," said Barres.

When former Harvard president Lawrence Summers caused a firestorm last year by suggesting that women are less innately talented in science than men, Barres called it verbal violence and felt he had to speak up.

"If people treat women as if they are less good, that treatment in itself causes them to be less confident, to choose to leave science," Barres said, adding, "I am always amazed when Larry Summers and others make this comment, because it so flies in the face of the data. A little bit less arrogance would go a long way."

In an impassioned response just published in the journal Nature, Barres references a slew of academic studies that found that women who applied for grants had to do more than twice as much work as men did, and that women at MIT were not getting equal resources, such as lab space.

His point: The gender gap in science has less to do with subtle differences in brain power and much more to do with bias.

Last week, a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences said women in science and engineering are hindered not by lack of ability but by bias and "outmoded institutional structures."

The report recommends altering procedures for hiring and evaluating scientists, changing typical timetables for tenure and promotion, and providing more support for working parents.

Barres helps to fight bias by lending his hand to the respected Pioneer Award program, the National Institutes of Health’s most prestigious prize. As a judge, he worked to make the application process more open, which led to important results.

Barres said the number of women and minority winners shot up from zero percent to nearly 40 percent. "The very best part was that we only discussed who was the best scientist and what was the best science."

And in Barres’ perfect world, that’s all that should matter.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures 

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