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On the Brink

On the Brink

Why Women Make Better Leaders, Especially In A Pandemic

On Oct 6, 2020 2:10:06 PM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women leaders

Ah, these are interesting times, aren't they? During the coronavirus pandemic, some world leaders have risen to the enormous challenge of steering their country through lockdowns, quarantines, plummeting economies, mass sickness and death, and civil unrest. They have been level-headed, resolute and inspiring. Others, sadly, have sputtered or utterly failed. And who, by and large, have occupied that first group? Women.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Tsai Ing-Wen, President of Taiwan, are just some examples of women leaders around the world who have managed their countries' response to the pandemic far better than their male counterparts, and as a result, their countries have fared better. This is the subject of a recent article I wrote for Irish Tech News, which you can read here.

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Pandemic Endangers Years Of Women's Progress In The Workforce

On Oct 6, 2020 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women leaders

Are you ready for some distressing news? According to Axios.com, more than 25% of women recently surveyed by McKinsey & Company and Lean In reported that they are considering "downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely, as the coronavirus pandemic has intensified challenges many already faced at work." The survey questioned over 40,000 women in 317 companies in the U.S. and Canada. This is an "emergency for corporate America," the report declares. You can read the results of the survey here. The graph below from Axios Visuals powerfully illustrates the plummeting participation rate of women in the U.S. labor force.

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Do Women Make Better Leaders In A Pandemic? Yes, By A Lot

On Sep 24, 2020 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women leaders

Women are smart. Women are capable. Women make great leaders. So why are only 4.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 2% of S&P 500 CEOs women? Could it be because of the outdated, erroneous myths that surround both men and women when it comes to taking charge? This is the basis of my discussion in a recent article in IntelligentHQ where I argue that despite enormous strides in business, government and many other areas, women often don’t get the respect men do for their leadership abilities, even when they can point to greater accomplishments. You can read the article here.

This gender disparity is also the focus of my new book, Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business in which I chronicle a number of women who have spoken out, broken through, and redefined what society has always told them was true about their capabilities.

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If Only You Can See How Powerful Women Are Leading Us Out Of The Pandemic

On Sep 22, 2020 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women leaders

Reading the recent Forbes article, “Do Women Make Better Leaders In A Pandemic? Don’t Trust The Data…….,” I was reminded of my Anthropology 101 professor telling us that “data does not exist.” In other words, out-of-context data points have no meaning. 

Our brains have a fascinating ability to only see what we want to see

I.e., only those truths that support our own story of reality, which has little to do with evidence-based research or “factually supported” data. Furthermore, since we are usually the hero in our story, we keep searching for data that makes us feel secure and certain of what to expect.

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How Smart Fearless Women Are Breaking The Barriers Of Business

On Aug 20, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women entrepreneurs, business innovation

For many of us, it should come as no surprise that female entrepreneurs make up the fastest-growing segment of business owners, not only in the U.S. but around the world. As the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Entrepreneurship 2016/2017 Report states, "Female entrepreneurship continues on an upward trend globally. Latest research shows that women’s entrepreneurial activity is up 10%, closing the gender gap by 5% since 2014. In the past year, 163 million women were starting businesses across 74 economies worldwide, while 111 million were running established businesses." Moreover, women now control over $20 trillion in annual global consumer spending, and that number is expected to rise by an additional $10 trillion in the next several years.

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Crushing It: Women Entrepreneurs Show You How To Build a Better Business

On Jul 11, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, anthropology, women entrepreneurs, business innovation

Did you know that women entrepreneurs represent the fastest-growing segment of business owners in most countries of the developed world, including the U.S.? In fact, according to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, 63 of the 74 featured economies have experienced a 10% increase in overall female total entrepreneurial activity. Women control over $20 trillion in annual consumer spending across the world, and that figure is expected to rise by another $10 trillion in the coming years.

Yet in spite of this substantial worldwide growth, women do not get the necessary recognition they deserve. Below, I showcase three women entrepreneurs who went from zero to hero and in the process, made a name for themselves in the male-dominated world of business. Their stories highlight how woman-powered leadership can lead to highly innovative solutions that benefit everyone in the company, as well as their customers. 

Read how they are doing things for others, leveraging their ideas and creating big solutions to serious problems.

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The Most Successful Under 40 Women Entrepreneurs

On Mar 12, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Finally, "female CEO" is not an oxymoron. 

Yes, women entrepreneurs have come a long way over the past several decades, but it wasn't so long ago that they had little to no influence in the business sector. Scores of women have changed all that but one who stands out as one of the first is Brownie Wise, a single mom who helped build a plastic food-storage empire known as Tupperware. Talk about a Blue Ocean strategic thinker!

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Want To Save the World? Women Entrepreneurs Are Already Doing It!

On Aug 16, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Have you heard of the “third billion?” Even if you haven't, you're definitely going to feel their impact. “Third billion” describes a billion women from emerging markets who are going to join the global economy as entrepreneurs, employers and employees over the next decade. From Turkey to India, women entrepreneurs are taking leading roles in this global shift, transforming their local economies and their communities. Oh and in the process, changing the world.

Case in point: The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study looked at 59 economies around the world and found that women are creating businesses at a higher and faster rate than men in three economies, and at a nearly equal rate in four others. Specifically, the startup rates by gender are comparable in Brazil, Ecuador, Switzerland and Uganda, and in Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand, the rate of new women entrepreneurs is higher than that of men. In the remaining 52 economies, the proportions of men startups are higher than women, in some cases, up to six times higher.

This is excellent news on a global scale as it signals a growing positive trend. After decades of legislative, policy and socio-cultural changes that have empowered women by supporting and training them, the world is finally placing women in leading business roles.

Not only transforming economies but communities too

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How Women in Leadership Roles Can Finally Change The Workplace

On Nov 1, 2017 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Culture, women in business

Did you know that firms led by women are more profitable? And that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45% from 2007 to 2016, compared to only 9% growth in overall businesses? Clearly, as women have taken on greater leadership roles in the business world, it’s paying off for both them and business, as I explain in my recent article for smallbizdaily (which you can read here).

As a corporate anthropologist, what interests me about the rise of female business leaders is their ability to restructure company cultures in order for women to thrive in the workplace. But then, what type of culture do women really want and is it all that different from what men want, too?

Recent research conducted by my firm, Simon Associates Management Consultants, revealed that in many ways, men and women want similar things in the workplace. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.

What kind of workplace cultures should women in leadership positions create?

Here are three ways women leaders can make the workplace more attentive to the needs of both men and women:

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How Women In Leadership Roles Are Improving The Workplace And The Bottom Line

On Oct 11, 2017 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Culture, women in business, women entrepreneurs

Are women good for business? You better believe it.

As women have taken on leadership roles, it’s paid off for both them and business

As I cite in a recent article in WE magazine for women, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. (Read the article here.) This should come as no surprise, given that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016, compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.

For me, as a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, this begs the question: With all these women in leadership roles, will they change workplace culture to make it more female-friendly? (Uber, Fox News and The Weinstein Company, take note.) Furthermore, what type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?

To answer this and other gender-workplace issues, we at SAMC did some research. As it turns out, in many ways men and women want similar things at work. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.

Important lessons for women who head up or start their own businesses

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