Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Only 23 women lead companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Yet at least a quarter of them have fallen into the cross hairs of activist investors.
The article references Patricia Sellers observations in Fortune last month regarding corporate raider Nelson Peltz and his targeted attacks on PepsiCo lead by Indra Nooyi and Mondelez International lead by CEO Irene Rosenfeld as well as his current demands on DuPont, with Ellen Kullman as chairman and CEO.
In the absence of correlating data about female CEO's and weaker company performance, the question lingers is there something besides performance that prompts the targeting of these companies? To explain the question the article references several studies that report perception differences in competence, risk and performance based solely on gender, with, women on the losing end of these perception biases.
As I think is a common tendency, I gravitate towards information that relates to what I am personally thinking about, experiencing or interested in at the moment. Earlier on this blog, I wrote about gender issues in the classroom. On my current reading list, is the book What Works for Women at Work written by Joan Williams and Rachel Dempsey, that (1) reviews the existing literature about pervasive gender bias, (2) articulates how unconscious bias influences outcomes (acknowledging that for the most part society has moved past explicit and overt gender discrimination), (3) identifies four patterns where these biases consistently emerge based in part on her interviews with 127 "successful" women, and (4) discusses how the workplace (meaning men and women) can move beyond the limitations of these implicit biases. Several colleagues and friends are reading this book along with me as well. And the best part: not everyone reading the book is (and not everyone should be) a women.