Could Trump be the Feminist Saviour?

pink-statue-of-liberty

Yes, you did read that correctly. I am seriously proposing that President Elect of the USA, Donald Trump, could actually be good for feminism.

Here’s why:

Mr Trump’s election campaign clearly showed that he holds women in low regard. In fact, you could deduce from his campaigning without too much difficulty, that his norm, his yardstick by which all others are judged, is the straight, white male. He’s so not interested in diversity per se.

Well, women make up half the population so he needn’t worry too much about the diversity tag because WOMEN ARE NOT A MINORITY GROUP. (Apologies for shouting there, it’s a personal thing).  But Jane, I hear you cry, we women may be half the population but we are not straight white males so how will Trump ever help us?

Yes, this is true.

However, Trump is a businessman, a successful one as he continually reminds us. Successful business men ignore economic facts at their peril. Here is a powerful economic fact for Donald Trump:

Businesses which employ women in senior positions alongside the men make more money.

Lots of businesses recognise this and are taking positive action to make sure that they benefit from this economic advantage. (Look at Sky, for example).

So here’s my free and unsolicited advice for Donald to help him in his first term in office.

First, some evidence:

The Business Case for Gender Balance
(From an IBM Smarter Workforce Institute report, authored by Dr Ines Wiechert)

This report argues that companies can and should do more to encourage and support women’s career progression. It presents a business case of compelling reasons why organizations should resolve the gender imbalance that exists in so many leadership teams. The business case is structured into four quadrants:

• Organizational Performance: Companies that have a higher proportion of women in executive roles tend to report stronger financial results. Opening up opportunities for women also creates a compound cultural benefit that is highly conducive to positive performance.

• Growth and Innovation: Today’s more open and collaborative organizations require a different style of management. Women are more likely to adopt the specific behaviors that are needed to foster a collaborative climate. Furthermore, complementary perspectives of a diverse workforce help to foster new ideas.

• Customer Orientation: The worldwide growth of the “female economy” is a significant opportunity for every business. But to capitalize on its potential, companies need to be able to see the world through a woman’s eyes. Having senior women in positions of influence can help organizations better address the needs of female customers.

• Internal Processes: Eleven factors will ultimately determine whether or not a woman will progress to a senior management position. The most important factors are critical job assignments, networking, and proactive personal action. Organizations should actively seek to support women in these key areas.

Our analysis of these four quadrants shows that resolving gender imbalance is more than just a social issue. It should be a key strategic priority as it impacts not only the performance of the organization, but also its reputation as a world-class employer.

This report concludes that every organization would benefit from having a better balance of men and women in senior management positions. Practical recommendations are provided to achieve this aim. One clear advantage is that this could create more potential candidates for those companies that want to elevate women into the boardroom. On top of that, having the complementary perspectives and leadership styles of men and women can open up an organization to new ideas and improve its ability to engage with customers. The simple truth is that better balance tends to make better business sense.

Secondly, some reading material. Check out the work of Avivah Wittenberg-Cox and her books on how and why mean business. Real, proper, money making business. Here’s a link. He can get an aide to read it and précis it for him. Or better still he can appoint Avivah as an advisor.

And finally, he can take some inspiration from the outgoing White House staff who managed to challenge the prevailing norms. Check out How Women Got Heard at the White House.

And if he does all of those things, he will be promoting the feminist cause. Although, if he feels more comfortable, he can just say he is Making America Great Again!

Posted on December 13th, 2016 by

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