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January 20, 2012Be assertive, focus on objectives, and stay online as much as possible. These are three helpful tips for virtual workers drawn from a recent study on remote work. Researchers found that most women would prefer to work remotely at least three days per week. Our philosophy at Catalyst is simple: if you can get the work done, it doesn’t matter where you do it. It’s heartening to see so many women recognizing the same thing—now it’s up to more companies to take heed as well.

Read more about the remote work survey, and other news, in today’s C This.

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Fibbing to the Top?

Men’s capacity to exaggerate previous performance may play an important role in creating gender gaps. When asked in a recent study how they scored on a test taken one year prior, men rated their performance about 30% higher than it actually was, while women ranked their performance about 15% higher. Managers should take note that men tend to exaggerate. According to researcher Ernesto Reuben, the findings call for “more sophistication on the part of hiring committees and recruiters to understand there are gender differences in how people evaluate themselves.”

READ: “Is Cockiness a Man's C-Suite Edge?” CFO World, 12/18/12

Pradhan Power

The power of roles models is profound. An MIT study in India found that towns with without female village leaders, or pradhan, experience deep gender gaps, while villages with female pradhan have virtually no gaps. For example, boys are 6 percent more likely to attend school and 4 percent more likely to be literate in villages with male-only pradhan. But in places that have had a female pradhan for at least two terms in office, that gap disappears.

READ: “Leading by Example,” MIT News, 1/13/11

Fueling Growth

With a projected annual GDP growth of 7 percent, Indian companies need all the talent they can get. Yet women make up only 36 percent of the Indian labor force. In this interview, I explain why women are vital to the country’s sustained economic growth, and how corporations can work towards advancing more women into leadership.

READ: “India Has Pressing Need for More Women at the Workplace,” Economic Times, 1/17/11

Working @ Home

A recent survey by Microsoft Office 365 and 85 Broads found that women would prefer to work remotely an average of 3.1 days per week. In this so-called “blended” remote setup, employees work from home a few days a week, then step into the office the other days. Respondents said that this arrangement leads to better work/life balance. From my experience at Catalyst—an organization where many work on fully virtual or “blended” schedules—I couldn’t agree more.

READ: “Women Finding Balance in Remote Work Arrangements,” Forbes, 1/17/11

Looking Towards the Future

Economic gains and political power are two sides of the same coin of women’s advancement. Fortunately, 2012 promises to be a year for making strides on both fronts, as record numbers of women run for United States Senate seats and the number of companies launching programs to advance women hit a critical mass.

READ: “High Hopes 2012 Will Be a Good Year for Women,” The New York Times, 1/10/11