Why strategic networking is harder for women

Herminia Ibarra Women & Work World Economic Forum

“My problem,” said Anna, a financial services executive, “is getting to know the guys two levels above, my bosses’ boss and his peers. We just don’t have many occasions to meet and when we do, we just focus on the task at hand. I’m not really getting to know him, and he certainly isn’t getting to know me. But, to …

Friendships forged outside work can hold women back

Herminia Ibarra Women & Work The Financial Times

In a recent Financial Times column, Sarah Gordon was right to take the Garrick Club to task, not just on its second vote to refuse women members but on the most disingenuous of explanations about why some members think such an exclusion is harmless. Work is never discussed or business conducted at the club, they told her; it is verboten. …

What the Scarcity of Women in Business Case Studies Really Looks Like

Lesley Symons and Herminia Ibarra Women & Work Harvard Business Review

“The school owed you better, and I promise it will be better,” Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria told an alumni audience in January, acknowledging and apologizing for the school’s problematic past concerning gender equity. He then pledged to double the number of business case studies that feature a woman as the protagonist up to a level of 20% over …

Inclusive Leadership: Unlocking Diverse Talent

Herminia Ibarra and Nana von Bernuth Leadership,   Women & Work INSEAD Knowledge

Gender diversity can be a polarising topic in big companies. Swiss Re holds some important lessons on how to foster a diverse environment with flexibility and inclusiveness for everyone. Nia Joynson-Romanzina, the head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Swiss Re, likens people in her organisation, and beyond, to icebergs. Not because they’re cold but because there is a diversity …

Conquering Gender Bias

Herminia Ibarra and Benjamin Kessler Women & Work INSEAD Knowledge

A lurking “second-generation gender bias” is slowing women down by dissecting their behaviour and hobbling their advancement. Companies will have to switch tactics to take on this more subtle phenomenon. If celebrity culture were a true reflection of women’s progress, one would have to call 2013 a very bad year for the glass ceiling. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, and …

Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers

Herminia Ibarra, Robin Ely, and Deborah Kolb Leadership,   Women & Work Harvard Business Review

Many CEOs who make gender diversity a priority—by setting aspirational goals for the proportion of women in leadership roles, insisting on diverse slates of candidates for senior positions, and developing mentoring and training programs—are frustrated. They and their companies spend time, money, and good intentions on efforts to build a more robust pipeline of upwardly mobile women, and then not …

How Female Leaders Should Handle Double-Standards

Herminia Ibarra Leadership,   Women & Work Harvard Business Review

IMF head Christine Lagarde tells a story about a woman leader she met who took over at a tough moment in her country’s history and resolved to be different. They had to cut the deficit and she wanted to set standards by personal example. When she travelled around the country, she took a small entourage of five cars. But the …

Despite Quotas, There’s Rough Road Ahead for Women in Europe

Herminia Ibarra Women & Work Harvard Business Review

“It’s done,” said European Commissioner Viviane Reding today. “The Commission has adopted my proposal for a European law so that women represent 40% of company board members by 2020.” Reding has often repeated, “I don’t like quotas, but I like what they do.” A controversial measure, hotly contested by a number of European countries and pundits on both sides of …

Study: Women Get Fewer Game-Changing Leadership Roles

Herminia Ibarra Leadership,   Women & Work Harvard Business Review

Many studies have shown that the representation of women in the senior ranks has been virtually unchanged for years, despite considerable organizational investment in talent management systems. Because leadership development begins early in careers, could inequality in development opportunities explain the gender gap that also emerges so early? To answer this, the most recent Catalyst research analyzed responses from 1,660 …

Sex and the Working Mom

Herminia Ibarra Women & Work Harvard Business Review

At one of the companies with which I work there is a legendary story about work life balance. The firm’s most senior line woman was asked to join a newly constituted high-level diversity committee, which included the company CEO. One of the hurdles that was holding women back, everyone agreed, was the high degree of transcontinental travel required of executives …