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Facts: More Women in Top Positions Mean Higher Profits

More women in executive positions means more profits for companies. What? Do you need me to say it again? More women in leadership roles translate to higher profits; an increased bottom line. Yes, that would make sense considering approximately half the population of the globe are females and contrary to a particular antiquated school of thought – the gender on a whole is fairly intelligent and business savvy. Natural talent and understanding how the other half makes decisions – first hand – for their households is a unique added superpower; especially in boardrooms.

This I know and believe, it  makes logical business sense but the statements above are not merely my own wishful thinking – they are facts, fully supported by research published by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO). The report shows companies that increase gender diversity in management positions have significant increases in profits ranging from five to 20 percent. The findings were based on a survey of 13 000 companies across 70 countries.

The individual increases may or may not be based on the following gleaned from the survey but they are points that should be taken seriously. Fifty-seven percent of the businesses surveyed said the increase of women at the top made it easier to attract and retain talent, and others said they saw more creativity, innovation and openness while enhancing the company’s reputation.

“These results are eye-opening,” said Deborah France-Massin, who heads ILO’s employers’ activity bureau.

What Does Balance Look Like?

Balance isn’t necessarily a 50-50 split but defined as a 40-60 percent ration of either gender. However, according to the ILO, the benefits of  gender diversity take effect when it is at least 30 percent of senior management and leadership positions. At least 60 percent of companies within the survey acknowledged that they did not meet these numbers. And in nearly half of the companies, their entry-level management recruits did not meet the one out of three ratio.

There is still a far way to go and with the range in cultural expectations and laws internationally, the numbers vary from continent to continent.

The Global Range

The Middle East and North Africa counted only 10 percent of women in management positions. Although globally more women are working they are less likely to have a job than men; consequently, less likely to be in executive roles.

Throughout the world only 20 percent of women are chief executives, and they are usually in smaller companies. On a side note; when comparing the volume of small companies to large companies – small companies make up the majority of companies world wide, for example in Canada almost 98 percent and 99 percent in the USA. Consequently small businesses are the foundation of a thriving economy.

“It is still quite clear that there are fewer women in (management) roles than in the workforce as a whole. And the higher you go up the chain of command in a company, the less likely you are to find women,” says France-Massin.

Pink Collar Ghetto

The Pink Collar Ghetto, refers to fields in which women are typically hired and the wages are lower; it’s in these areas where they usually rise to management levels. France –Massin points out that women exceed in management positions in the areas of human resources and administration more so than financial management.

The primary driving force behind a company is making a profit and so if the fears of hiring women at the executive levels are loss of profits and/or placing a company in jeopardy – that excuse can no longer be used to maintain glass ceilings and glass walls. France Massin said it perfectly: “Companies should look at gender balance as a bottom-line issue, not just a human resources issue.”

Side note: as I sit writing this piece, the breaking news is that Rihanna’s Fenty Line has propelled her to be the wealthiest female musician in the world – she is as female and as authentic as one gets.

Of course I couldn’t just end without highlighting some of the most successful female executives – the list is short and by no means complete or globally inclusive. Although the examples of excellence are of women in Fortune 500, many smaller successful companies are run by women. As well, keep in mind that the majority of businesses that keep our economy healthy are micro and small businesses.

What’s Fortune 500?

“The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years. The list includes publicly held companies, along with privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available.”

 Women Powerhouses

Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN10 – Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA; Economic Forum
swiss-image.ch/Photo by Michael Wuertenberg

Indra Nooyi changed the way PepsiCo did business and increased sales 80 percent over 12 years as CEO. According to CNN Business by paying attention to society’s shift in healthier food choices, she carefully maneuvered the offerings into three categories: Fun For You, the company’s legacy of soft drinks and chips. Better For You, low calorie snacks and diet drinks that include baked chips. Thirdly, Good For You, includes Sabra Hummus, Quaker Oats oatmeal and Naked Juice smoothies. The combination of the three categories captures the varying degrees of tastes and the health conscious.

Ursula Burns & Anne Mulcahy, XEROX

 The story of Ursula Burns and Anne Mulcahy makes history as more than one firsts. Ursula Burns is the first African American CEO of a fortune 500 company, and the first woman to follow another woman CEO, Anne Mulcahy. These two women worked together first while Mulcahy was CEO, and once she resigned, Burns stepped into the position.

Mulcahy stepped into the role of CEO in 2000, when XEROX was on the verge of bankruptcy. She ignored the financial advisors who told her to declare bankruptcy and took the risky route and hunkered down with committed executives all over the world, and sold pieces of Xerox, farmed out manufacturing and eliminated jobs and expenses. Ultimately, saving the company and paying off its debt and improving the product line.

Anne Mulcahy and Ursula Burns, 2010, Xerox

Working closely, Burns executed on the plans  with Mulcahy and so it was a natural for her to fulfill the role after Mulcahy’s departure. In her tenure she lead the transition from document to diversified services and the transformation of Xerox into two separate publicly traded entities. Both Mulcahy and Burns were long time employees of the company.

 

 

 

Source:

Gender diversity good for businesses and economies: UN, by Nina Larson, Phys.org

CNN Business (https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/06/news/companies/indra-nooyi-pepsico/index.html ) CNNMoney’s Paul R. La Monica and Julia Carpenter contributed to this report.

Ursula M. Burns : https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=593846&privcapId=379316

Small Business, by Vangie Beal : https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/small_business.html

Canadian Small Business Defined, Stradegy.com, https://www.stradegy.ca/article/canadian-small-business-defined

 

 

 

Turn Down the AC – Women are More Productive in Warmer Offices

Summer is just around the corner – longer days of sunshine, flowers are blooming, city sidewalks are filled with an eclectic mix of people, lunchtime and after-work happy-hours fill patios with a fusion of conversations and laughter.  Ahhh – the beloved signs of warmer temperatures. But wait, chances are, amid the chatter are the complaints of cold air-conditioned offices  because as the outdoor temperatures rise, simultaneously air conditioning switches are being turned on and the air in offices become more frigid. Layers, whether a sweater, jacket or shawl become the necessary “summer” work accessory.

And there ensues the battle of the thermostat – someone usually has to give in to being too warm or too cold; and in most cases the battle lines are drawn between genders. Women usually prefer the thermostat raised to warmer temperatures. There’s a well-established thought that cooler temperatures make for a productive work environment whereas warmer temperatures make people more sluggish and less productive.

However, over the years there have been studies that disprove this theory. The most recent study was published last month at the University of California by TY Chang, Marshall School of Business’ associate professor of finance and business economics and A Kajackaite a behavioral economics researcher at WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany . It found that women performed better on math and verbal tasks in warmer temperatures and men performed better in cooler temperatures but it wasn’t a dramatic difference as it was for women.  The study showed that it wasn’t just the comfort, but performance and the degree of effort put forth that was affected by the temperature.

“It’s been documented that women like warmer indoor temperatures more than men—but the idea until now has been that it’s a matter of personal preference,” said Chang. “What we found is it’s not just whether you feel comfortable or not, but that your performance on things that matter—in math and verbal dimensions, and how hard you try—is affected by temperature.”

The research was conducted in Berlin, it included 543 participants; the rooms were set between 61°F  -91°F (16°C – 32°C). They weren’t able to confirm what temperature would be ideal.

However, another study conducted by the University of Sydney, in 2018 shows that 77°F (25° C) was more comfortable and does not lower productivity while being  better for energy use and greenhouse emissions.

On a personal note, I know (albeit I’m one of those who gets cold easily and always has a sweater or jean jacket in hand) that when I’m cold, it’s harder to focus on the task at hand because I’m distracted by the discomfort and thoughts of getting warm.

Chang and Kajackaite, suggest, based on their findings that the mixed gender working environments should raise the thermostats in offices. In the end, it’s better for the environment, more comfortable and makes for more productive and efficient employees which equates to  a more profitable bottom line : cha-ching!

Source

Study finds warmer temperatures improve women’s performance, by University of Southern California More information: Chang TY, Kajackaite A (2019) Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216362. journals.plos.org/plosone/arti … journal.pone.0216362

A Slightly Warmer Office Won’t Make it Too Hot to Think, by Dian Tjondronegoro, Christhina Candido, Fan Zhang And Shamila Haddad, The Conversation, April 12, 2018

 

Greek Feta: There’s Something Cheesy Going On

 Is feta cheese made from cow’s milk or sheep and goat’s milk? The answer may not be as obvious as you think. I recently had a chat with my mother about feta, that’s Greek Feta cheese. She like most everyone takes for granted that the feta cheeses sold in stores are all made from sheep or goat’s milk or a combination of the two and are from Greece. I informed her, that it’s not necessarily so. In fact this was not the first time I had this same discussion. A close friend,  ever so gingerly – as not to embarrass me –  advised me that feta is made from goat or sheep after I questioned (while out) whether the feta in a spanakopita was made from cow or goat/sheep’s milk . She gave me a strange – you poor uniformed unexposed woman – look. I proceeded to tell her that some feta cheeses are actually made from cow’s milk. She left it alone and I’m pretty sure she felt she would leave me to my ignorance as a couple times after that when dining out and questioning any feta choices on the menu, she would give me a look. The fact is we are both correct – there was a time when feta was indeed exclusive to sheep and goat’s milk, but it has since changed, I’m not certain of when cow’s milk started masquerading as Greek Feta, but it has.  

Why is this a thing for me? It’s not really, well yeah, it is kinda. I don’t drink/eat cow dairy due to an allergy and so it’s important for me to know exactly what kind of cheese I’m eating. I can and do enjoy goat cheese – crumbled, hard and soft.  Furthermore,  my 60-second chat with my mother made me realize that most people assume and take for granted that feta is the traditional goat/sheep cheese from Greece.

I’m here to tell ya, “it aint always so”. And if you don’t think it’s such a big deal, well the Greek cheese makers sure did, so much that courts have had to rule on feta to lower the tensions between the big dairy nations – Greece, France, Denmark and Germany. Trade agreements amongst countries have been drafted and implemented to regulate the world trade of genuine Greek Feta, it’s origins and who has the right to use the label.

To be considered authentic feta from Greece and to carry the coveted label – Greek Feta – it has to be produced in the designated regions of Greece that have been granted the “protected designation of origin”; they include Thrace and the island of Lesbos, Macedonia, mainland Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly and Epirus. The process and the use of sheep and goat to make the cheese is also a part of what contributes to the legitimacy of  Greek Feta. Those produced outside the regions listed above, and made from sheep or goat’s milk must state on their packaging, “Feta style/type cheese” – variations of this labeling in the same vein differ around the world. As well, there are also types made from barn-raised cow’s milk labelled feta; which clearly, is not genuine feta.

In 2013, Canada honored the legal decision and trade agreement. Our mere location makes it mandatory for Canadian cheesemakers to add “feta style/type cheese” to their packaging. However those companies who were using the term prior are still allowed to use feta but they are not allowed to package with any artwork alluding to their cheese being Greek.

Generally, in regards to cow’s milk feta, companies are clear in the ingredients about feta made from this source. An example is the popular Canadian cheese brand Krinos, one of their offerings, organic feta is actually made from cow’s milk: https://krinos.ca/products/organic-feta-cheese/. Many of the American made feta cheeses are also produced from cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk feta is perfectly fine for most, but for those of us who are lactose intolerant  it is a big deal; taking for granted that all feta is goat can cause a whole host of  -avoidable- health related problems if eaten unintentionally.   The reason I and so many others are able to digest the goat cheese easier than the cow cheese are the casein/proteins A1 and A2; cow is A1 and goats are A2 , and if you are lactose intolerant A2 is better for your digestion. 

If you aren’t a cheese connoisseur and unable to tell the difference  in taste between the cow’s milk feta style cheese and Greek Feta (albeit,  goat and sheep’s cheese do have distinct flavors), the different source for feta may not be of concern  for you.

So there you go, the answer: authentic Greek Feta from designated regions in Greece are made from sheep and goats milk, while elsewhere there are many brands producing feta from sheep, goat  and  cow’s milk. Maybe now, my friend won’t give me the look, the next time we head out for a bite.

 

 

 

I Lost My Train of Thought – Again: Dementia or Hormones?

 

So, I had a frightening experience the other day. I was sitting in a small boardroom, gray walls, no windows except for a dark glass (two-way mirror) with about nine other strangers: 50 to 70 yrs. old. We were all corralled for a focus group to get our opinions and experiences, and in the middle of sharing my perspective in response to a particular question – my mind went blank. Completely. Nada.

Couldn’t connect … what?

I’d lost my train of thought before, in fact many times, but this was different. I just couldn’t connect the dots, I couldn’t find the last word that I left off that may trigger a retrace-the-steps-memory. The facilitator left me and moved on to another participant. Needless to say, I was embarrassed. She came back to me, and again the same thing happened.

The irony; or is the universe giving me a warning sign?

The irony: the focus group was about those who were related to or helping friends or family suffering from dementia and Alzheimer. You can fully appreciate my instant anxiety and embarrassment. I just knew the rest of the group was diagnosing me with early onset dementia and believe me I was right in there with them. I was scared. I tried to brush it off for the next hour, continuing to answer questions but 90 percent of my thoughts and feelings were drowning in a sea of heightened emotions.

Whew!

Losing my train of thought as I said was nothing new, but not being able to reconnect – that had never happened before. Usually there is some sort of activity or brain wave but there was radio silence. I knew that a woman of my age often has memory challenges – it’s normal with the hormone changes. Nothing to fear; but fear drove me to call my cousin as soon as I left. She shared a similar experience and said she noticed forgetfulness by many of our aunts and uncles – but there was no history of dementia or current diagnosis in the family.

It calmed me somewhat, but having watched a Dr. Oz segment on dementia, I knew a little something about prevention and decided that I would inject the following into my lifestyle – more social contact and be actively and consciously present and mindful always. I’m an entrepreneur, freelance writer and editor and have worked from home for almost 10 years – no regular daily professional contact with the outside world except for early morning workout’s at the gym five or six days per week. It has become my social outlet and similar to the 80’s sitcom “Cheers”, where everyone knows your name; the interactions are usually filled with quick catch-ups and a whole lot of humor but no big dialogues to speak of. I’m single; no kids. I decided that I would make sure to engage in some networking or social activity once or twice a week. Cause honestly after so many years of working in seclusion my communication skills have waned to say the least – my witty sense of humor has diminished – instead of being quick, the quick comeback shows itself an hour or days after a conversation. My vocabulary, instead of the more sophisticated varied versions found in a Thesaurus, what comes to mind are the basic words learned as a three year old and those are the ones that find their way into my discussions – and that’s after my brain does a run through of options (like an old school Rolodex) that are nowhere to be found. Don’t get me wrong I’m no preeminent wordsmith and in fact I’m not one who tries to impress by using “big” words. But you know what they say; if you don’t use it you lose it. Furthermore,  before you think I don’t have a life I do have my mother, family and friends that I talk to and see on a regular basis.

That very night, I decided I was going to be more conscious and present in my thoughts; as opposed to the easily distracted, multi-tasking mind that has constant useless chatter going on or the disengaged la-dee-da go through the motions state of being.

It worked, I was mindful, present, which on a spiritual level is where you should be. That’s another article. In any case, still I made an appointment to see my doctor. I explained to her what happened, and she brought out the MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) test a tool for evaluating cognitive disabilities – 30 questions that help to determine dementia by assessing your orientation, short-term memory, executive functions/visuospatial ability, language, abstraction and attention. You are scored out of 30 and a final mark of 26 or more means you are considered normal. My score came out to 28 or 29. I can’t remember which one exactly, but my lack of memory has nothing to do with dementia – yep, I can giggle about it now! Needless to say – relief washed over me – early onset dementia isn’t the problem.

She also broke down my concerns. As for vocabulary – as an editor and writer for the general public, you are trained to write so that someone at a grade three level can understand – clear, succinct and simple. An aha moment! Whew! She prescribed watching Ted Talks regularly to keep my head in the game and agreed with my plan to increase my social interaction. Also, sometimes our brains just go on autopilot, not her exact words but mine. And of course, my changing hormones are probably a contributing factor.

So once I knew that it wasn’t early onset dementia, I needed to learn more about this memory loss and brain fog that women experience when they become perimenopausal. Now it’s no longer something that happens to other women – it’s happening to me. I’ve heard it for years from my mother, my aunts and now girlfriends.

Firstly, the experts do not claim to know exactly why menopause affects us cognitively, but have deduced that it may be related to falling levels of estrogen which affects parts of the brain that influence memory, attention and emotions. However what they know for sure is that it’s a normal part of our transition and aging as women. Those words alone are comforting. In fact, Nada Stotland, MD,MPH professor of psychiatry at Rush University in Chicago, states, “menopause is a normal healthy stage in life”.

So what is cognitive function?

According to the https://www.neuronup.com, “Cognitive functions are those mental processes that lead to the acquisition of knowledge and allow us to carry out our daily tasks. They allow the subject to have an active role in the processes of receiving, choosing, transforming, storing, processing and retrieval of information, allowing the subject to navigate the world around him.”

Basically it allows us to reason, to pay attention, remember, and process information so that we can interact with our environment independently and fully engaged.

According to a study published in the journal Menopause, the first year after your last period is when memory problems are more acute. So there you go, it gets better.

Managing the change

The effects linked to perimenopause and menopause – the hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia and brain fog – are all normal healthy parts of the process. Of course they cause fatigue and discomfort but I think half the battle is knowing for sure what is causing the irritability, night sweats and then accepting it, because not accepting it and being negative just makes it worse than it is. I know it ain’t easy! Sleep deprivation is one of the worst symptoms because it affects all areas of our lives.  Our daily routines and lifestyles are affected in different ways and can be unpredictable.  Sitting in a meeting or going on a date where all of a sudden you have beads of sweat forming on your forehead and dripping like you just came out of the shower and trying to act normal like it’s not really happening – well that’s embarrassing. But is it really? What if we just own it? Be matter of fact about it … because it is simply  – a matter of fact.

So now I know, with the combination of all the symptoms – hot flashes, night sweats, memory problems, insomnia – that I’m not in the stages of dementia or any other illness or disease but that I’m a woman going through a healthy phase of life.

How do I manage all these inconvenient annoyances without showing my Tasmanian Devil?  Meaning, looking fierce from the lack of sleep and hot flashes, and although not looking for a fight will quickly show my clenched teeth, screeching at the slightest hint of a side eye. Maybe, just maybe – I see you  about to roll your eyes –  I frame it as a colorful stage of life; interesting, dynamic, eventful, unpredictable, the experiences on which laughs and giggles can be had in the comfort of other women also going through it. Plus, if God blesses me to reach the rocking chair stage of life and to have the benefit of consoling, regaling younger women on my embarrassing, treacherous and gut laughing stories – they will know I made it through … to tell the tale. And so will they.

The choice on how to cope is personal, but there is definitely one thing that I’ve observed of those at this stage: those who manage their stress levels have less symptoms. Daily exercise has been my go-to option for stress management for about 30 years. The only other thing, than the memory that I’ve noticed are the hot flashes and I take Maca root, a natural alternative – and so far so good, it’s worked wonderfully.

There are many options, opinions and advice from traditional western to Chinese medicine and alternative practices to old wives tales. I’m sure in all that, there is an approach that will work perfectly for me (and you). I will just have to take the time to figure out what works for me step by step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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