Women Leadership On The Rise In Tech Industries
First there was Marissa Mayer appointed as President and CEO of Yahoo! in 2012. Then there was Angela Ahrendts appointed to Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores for APPLE INC., just two months ago. Today we find out that Twitter has hired Marjorie Scardino, former CEO of Pearson media company, as the first female member of the board of directors.
We may be entering another Girl Power era (reference: the 1990's). The tech industry is predominately male dominated, and has been scrutinized for not having a diverse board of directors or employees for that matter. I read an article from the Washington Post that called this move by Twitter "a PR move." Andrea Peterson wrote:
"despite Scardino's extraordinary accomplishments, her appointment feels like a PR move due to the months of public scrutiny about Twitter's gender dynamics. Countless outlets have put a magnifying glass on Twitter's board, whose all-white, male makeup reflects a lot of the institutional problems in the tech sector. And it's debatable just how much influence having one white woman on the board will have on the company in terms of its diversity problem."
Peterson begs the question, is this tokenism, was this forced upon Twitter or was this decision arrived at naturally? These three ladies are highly qualified, and that's what we want, we want whose qualified put in these positions of power. No matter their sex or gender. What matters is if a person is right for the job available. All three of these ladies were hired for their experience, connections, and based on their pas performance. Above all, their individual personalities and approaches matters, and having intuition for business is very valuable.
Grant Thornton International Ltd along with Forbes Insights compiled a report Women in senior management: setting the stage "Over the past year, women have grabbed headlines in every industry and every corner of the globe." It's a very impressive report, citing countless studies done concerning women in all industries and every part of the world. Take this study for example, Nancy M. Carter and Harvey M. Wagner tracked Fortune 500 companies from 2004 to 2008, and they found that those companies with the most women board directors "outperformed those with the least by at least 16% in terms of return on sales and 26% in terms of return on invested capital" (2011).
Why? Is it that women have to prove themselves more, an x-factor, or something else?
Some governments are actually giving companies ultimatums about hiring more women to their boards. A report by Lord Davies’ recommended that the United Kingdom have 25% women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015. Subsequently, the UK government told companies that if they don't double the number of women on their boards within 4 years, they will face government intervention (such as quota caps) (Source: Daily Mail).
We want to see women break through these male dominated industries, but we want them to deserve it. We want to see our country's businesses do well, we want our economy to do well. Having a diversity of people is good business sense.
Things are looking up for women, and for men as well. We are in an exciting era of change, growth, and exponential advancements in technology and platforms. We are seeing emerging markets and leaders emerge from the most unexpected places. The best part is seeing that everyone is getting opportunities to reach their full potential. We all win when the best are leading us, and when we all have a chance to exercise our talents and strengths. This is the century for possibilities.