‘How Women Mean Business’ is the follow up to the highly successful ‘Why Women Mean Business’ which Avivah Wittenberg-Cox co authored with Alison Maitland. I loved that book as you can see from my review, so approached its successor with no little trepidation. Could it be even half as good as the first?
‘How Women Mean Business’ is a solo effort from Avivah . It has a sub title of: ‘A Step by Step Guide to Profiting from Gender Balanced Business’. And that is exactly what you get – a manual of how to successfully introduce gender bilinguality into your organisation and a copy should be in every HR department and library. It is another excellent resource book!
The book takes the reader comprehensively through 4 stages to achieve a more representative gender balance in business. The four stages are:
Audit – looking at the actual statistics in an organisation, benchmarking, and talking to employees, women and men.
Awareness – ensuring top managers truly understand the case for gender balance and the opportunities it presents them.
Alignment – training requirements, the talent in the organisation.
Sustain – how you maintain the change and measure progress.
Here’s an extract from a section on inviting senior managers to a first meeting on achieving gender balance:
“Avoid invitations signed by HR, Diversity, or a women’s association. That would limit and label participant’s view of the session before they even enter the room.
The invitation should introduce gender balance as a strategic lever for achieving other 21st century change initiatives.
Be careful………[not to call it] something like ‘Gender Training’ sessions generating endless jokes before the session starts. Instead, describe the session as a strategic debate, not as a training or awareness workshop. The invitation must start with the key messages, vocabulary, and positioning of the effort. That way, it will control how the issue is perceived, and what response it prompts.”
As well as pithy and practical advice on the actual steps to take, the book also gives examples of organisations that have had success not only with gender issues, but also increased profitability. I will be featuring some of these examples in other blog posts as it’s an absolute treasure trove of information.
You’ll have guessed by now that this is a book I highly recommend. It’s not an easy read but it’s an interesting and informative one. I read the latter half of it while stuck on a train and realised I was mouthing ‘yes, yes! ‘ a lot of the time, possibly creating the wrong impression of the type of book I was reading to my fellow passengers…
But as a feminist it is pure joy to read this type of book. It doesn’t simply point out the faults in most of the working environments in the western world, but it gives an entirely credible and practical approach for remedying them. If you’re seriously interested in gender issues, man or woman, go buy it!
The book is available from all good bookshops, libraries, and Amazon and is published by Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-68884-7
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Posted on April 29th, 2010 by Jane