Developing Women Radar 2015-4-2

So here’s what has crossed my radar this week:

HuffPo article: A New Twist on the Old Story About What’s Holding Women Back

  • Key message:

    It would help more women get to the top, and succeed there, if some of the energy we spend identifying unconscious bias and other barriers based in stereotypes was redirected into helping women along career paths that expose them to different functions, business units, and geographies so that they could broaden their perspective and cultivate a broader strategic skillset. What’s more, this is an empowering message for women. Developing one’s own strategic strength is more within our control than changing other people’s biases and prejudices.

  • My takeaway: We ultimately cannot control other people’s biases & prejudices, or reactions or what they think, etc, so in terms of return on investment of energy spent, it’s virtually always more productive to focus on what’s in our locus of control. Not to say activism doesn’t need to happen, it does, but it’s going to be a slower, harder slog than making sure we are asking for and/or taking the lead and investing in ourselves the development that we wouldn’t necessarily have gotten.

From Ellevate: How to Answer: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (I think this one is members only? Go join — good stuff.)

  • Key message:
    • Think about what to highlight (strengths & unique qualities, skills and areas you want to develop)
    • Show passion (recruiting and training is 1-3x salary cost to bring someone on typically, so companies will want to know you plan to stay for a while. Show passion by talking about the impact you would like to have on the field & what types of work you’d like to incorporate into your skill set).
    • Keep it general (don’t say I want to be the chief content officer in five years, but do talk about your goals for the next five years & what your definition of personal success would be, showing how you want to be applying your skills. Focusing on what you want personally as well as what you deliver to the company allows you to demonstrate your values as well as what you bring to the table).

Time talks about Talking About Gender Bias at Work

  • It’s a short article & already a summary of the following points:
    • The biggest mistakes well-intentioned men make without realizing — and how to fix them
    • The surprising path women take to become CEOs and why it takes 50% longer than men
    • Why the way we’re discussing gender bias is actually bad and what we should do differently.
  • The big interesting point for me here was in that last one – raising awareness actually reinforces stereotypes (‘it’s common, therefore ok that this happens”). What significantly makes an impact is leadership raising awareness with explicit disapproval of stereotypes (“this [datapoint] is a thing that is happening, and I don’t ever want to see it happen again.”)

Via @FindingAda, SUW talks about why it’s ok not to know what you want to do when you grow up yet… in Annual Campbell Lecture: The Invention of Career

  • Bookmarking this as much for myself as y’all because there’s a 45 minute video that I want to come back to. I like a lot of what I’ve read from her, so I anticipate more goodness!  “We need to learn how to take our skills and apply them in inventive ways that allow us to spot and exploit opportunities that didn’t exist before.”

Cool Kickstarter to digitize the Women Engineer Journals

  • Looks like they might not make it with only £702 of £4000 raised (so go give them money!), but very cool project:

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) was started in 1919 and has been producing its Journal “The Woman Engineer” quarterly since 1919. The journals are currently held in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) archives.

The journals contain a wealth of knowledge not only of women in engineering but the journey of engineering in the UK since World War 1. The early journals also contain technical papers by female engineers. It is important that we do not loose the records of these WES role models and we maintain their achievements for future generations.

Since 2004 the journals have been digitised and are available to download here. The IET also digitised the first journal for WES.

In 2019 WES will be 100 years old and we have started a project to catalogue the history of WES; digitising the journals is one part of the project.