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November 29, 2010Inspiration can come from unexpected places. In a recent op-ed for CNN, Nancy M. Carter, Vice President, Research, described how her grandchildren added urgency to her career-long fight to end gender inequity. “I want my four pre-school-aged granddaughters to have every opportunity to succeed as they grow older,” she wrote. Also in C This, the latest news on how gender stereotypes can harm your chances of landing a job, the failed Paycheck Fairness Act, and an important UN treaty designed to end discrimination against women.

Busting Barriers for the Next Generation

In this CNN exclusive, Nancy M. Carter outlines the challenges for women in the business world and some solutions to closing gender pay and leadership gaps. “Women should seek out mentors and sponsors who will teach them the ‘unwritten rules’ that can supercharge a career,” she wrote.

READ: “How to Close the Gender Pay Gap,” Nancy M. Carter, CNN, 11/26/10

Fair Pay? Not Today

“Our battle is not over,” said fair-pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter following blockage of the Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress. The Act would have helped close the gender wage gap by prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask bosses about pay disparity. Women earn only 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man. “It is upsetting to me that something that would benefit everyone got caught up in politics,” Ledbetter said.

READ: “Lilly Ledbetter's fight for equal pay goes on,” Roy L. Williams, The Birmingham News, 11/21/10

With Friends Like These…

The United States joins Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Nauru, Palau, and Tonga in steadfast refusal to support CEDAW, or the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. President Jimmy Carter signed the treaty in 1980, but Congress has yet to ratify it. “Our ratification will send a powerful and unequivocal message about our commitment to equality for women across the globe,” said U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer at a recent hearing on the important treaty.

READ: “U.S. Ratification of Women’s Treaty Subject of Senate Hearing,” womenspolicy.org, 11/19/10

An Unkind Cut

Can a positive recommendation letter spoil your chances for a job? Yes—if stereotypical terms are used. Rice University researchers reviewed 624 letters for 194 applicants for faculty positions at a U.S. university. “Communal” terms such as “helpful,” “kind,” and “sympathetic” were commonly used to describe women, while men were often labeled “confident,” “aggressive,” and “outspoken.” The more the communal terms were used, the less favorably the candidate was viewed.

READ: “Are Recommendation Letters Biased Against Women?” Paula Szuchman, The Wall Street Journal, 11/15/10

Generations at Work

Businesses that ignore generational differences in the workplace can pay a serious price. “It impacts the bottom line,” said Adwoa Buahene, a Toronto-based talent management consultant. In Canada, a growing number of companies have tailored schedules and benefit packages to suit the needs of different age groups. “If you do not have engaged employees, you have higher turnover which costs money and results in lower customer engagement,” said Bauhene.

READ: “Best companies bridge the generation gap,” Tracy Tjaden, The Globe and Mail, 11/22/10