Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA (part 1)- Introduction and Overview

imagesOn March 8th, countries around the world celebrated International Women’s Day. The focus of this annual event is to build support for women’s rights and greater participation of women in the political, social and economic arenas. Although this year’s date has already passed, it is still a good opportunity to take a look at what is happening in business schools around the topics of women, gender and sustainability.

Fortunately, there are many excellent examples of initiatives, research and programmes to choose from. In this series of blog posts, I will outline a few different approaches that schools are taking around entrepreneurship, empowering women and campus activities. In this first blog I’ll start by focusing on the range of resources available to provide more information on the topic.

Reading though the range of materials produced by business, NGOs and international organizations, it quickly became clear that there are too many quality resources to list here. There are now a very wide range of resources online that look at both the state of women around the world and also, in particular, the corporate world. UN Women’s Watch provides a range of links to publications on the topic. Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals is focused on promoting gender equality and empowering women. According to the Goal’s website, women occupy 25% of senior management positions and in 2008/2009 were on average paid 23% less than men.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer guidance to companies on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles include leadership, equal opportunity, health and safety, education, enterprise development, community leadership and transparency. The initiative emphasizes the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and is informed by real-life business practices and inputs gathered from companies around the world.

In terms of how this translates into management education, a key resource is the work being done by the PRME Gender Working Group, which was discussed in a previous post. The mission of the group, which has over 60 members, is to bring together academic and employers to provide support and resources for integrating gender issues and awareness into management education, business school curricula, and related research. The Global Resource Repository, a collection of syllabi, case studies and other teaching resources, is being expanded to include sections on Research and Good Practices. The group is also inviting contributions to a publication on Gender Equality as a Challenge for Business and Management Education as part of the PRME Book Collection. The Call for Contributions is open and may be viewed here. Abstracts are being accepted until 1 June.


If you would like to share your initiatives around this topic in future posts please contact me.


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