December 20, 2010 by Ilene H. Lang
Catalyst’s latest Census of female leadership in the Fortune 500 and our report, Mentoring: Necessary But Insufficient for Advancement, received strong media coverage last week. Below are two clips highlighting the new research. Also in C This, new studies point to the challenges that Indian women face in the workplace, the dearth of diversity programs in American companies, and the “glass cliff” women face when getting top jobs.
“A sponsor is somebody who is really your advocate, your champion,” said Barbara Adachi, National Managing Director for Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, in this interview about Catalyst’s 2010 Census and our new study on sponsorship. “A sponsor has a stake in your success and a stake in your career,” she added.
To Find a Sponsor
Kerrie Peraino, Chief Diversity Officer at American Express, advised women to be bold in order to find a sponsor. “It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m doing good work,’ and put your head down on your desk,” she said. “To earn sponsorship someone needs to see your work.”
Get with the Program
A new survey of human resource and talent management leaders at more than 540 U.S. companies found that 43% had no formal activities or programs aimed at developing women leaders, and only 5% had “robust” initiatives. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that the progress of women into business leadership is stuck—and has been so for years.
Experts call it the “glass cliff”—the precarious place high up on the corporate ladder where women are judged more harshly than men. Victoria Brescoll, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale University, studied the phenomenon. “Stereotyping thrives on ambiguity. Mistakes create ambiguity and call the leader's competence into question, which, in turn, leads to a loss of status,” she explained.
New research shows that 80 percent of Indian women want the top jobs and are prepared to work hard for them, but less than 30 percent of Indian women outside the agrarian economy are in the workplace. But, participation is likely to increase as the cultural stigmas attached to female-employment fade. “If we’re doing so well with only 30 percent of women in the work force, imagine what we’ll achieve when that goes up to 50 percent,” said Preeti Singh, a 21-year-old business management student aiming for the C-Suite.