June 8, 2007 9:03 AM
How to run a women's initiative program
Posted by Diane Danielsonat 9:03 AM
Businessweek is running a story about how to make a women's initiative work using examples from Best Buy, Deloitte and GE. Great stories and great examples - and if you need more you can find some in Sylvia Ann Hewlett's book Off-Ramps and On-Ramps. But, what happens to the rest of the women who don't work for those handful of fortune 500 companies that "get it" and put mega-budgets behind it? From the Businessweek piece:
Corporate women's networks frequently get a bad rap--for good reason. The groups frequently toil on the fringes, hosting "lunch and learns" and book clubs that rarely provide the skills or exposure women need to rise in the ranks. Often, "these initiatives are run by people who don't really have much power," notes Claudia Peus, a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. When she interviewed more than 900 female executives about critical factors in their success, they ranked programs for the promotion of women last. "The spontaneous reaction was, 'They don't work.'"
It's an issue - how do you keep your women engaged and not marginalized if you don't have a budget or the senior management buy-in to do so?