18 Schools, 18 Approaches – International Women’s Day (Part 3 of 3)

March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is an equal world is an enabled world. I have been tracking how PRME Signatories report on initiatives relating to women and gender in their Sharing Information on Progress reports for several years now and am still surprised at how few schools report on these. Over the next few days I will focus in on a few schools that have been and will share with you just a small selection of the impressive initiatives that they are organising. This list includes 18 schools from 14 different countries.  Click here for part 1 and 2.

Supporting research: At Massey Business School in New Zealand, research by Professor Sarah Leberman focuses on women in leadership within both sport and academia. Professor Jane Parker was invited by the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice to participate in a consultation focused on “Women’s human rights in the changing world of work”. Women now account for 58 per cent of senior roles at Massey University which is committed to ensuring that it is truly a good place for women to work.

Focusing on the pipeline: Dean Sharon Matusik, the first female dean at PRME Champion school Leeds School of Business in the United States, is determined to work toward ending the gap found in almost every business school (and boardroom) in the country. Leeds has a multitude of programmes aimed to reach women before they get to college. Through outreach, summer programs, and leadership conferences, these pre-college programmes dispel preconceived notions about business, illuminate career options and instil confidence. Thanks to these, in 2019, Leeds received 24% more applications from high school women than in 2018. One of the programmes is their Women in Business Case Competition, a two-day intensive experience designed to provide a high impact learning opportunity for prospective high school women through case study. It aims to recruit highly skilled and academically talented women to the Leeds School of Business while introducing prospective students to women leaders and the support structures for academic success and career readiness that Leeds offers. The Women in Business Case competition is funded entirely by Corporate Partners, Leeds Board Members, and the Leeds End the Gap Fund.

Through research centres: The Centre for Women in Organisations at Rotterdam School of Management delivers research, programmes, events, mentoring, coaching and networks to empower women. The centre’s research focuses on women’s experience in the workplace, the issues that hold women back in business and what organisations, leaders and individuals can do to redress the gender imbalance, challenge prevailing mind-sets and drive real change. They undertake numerous activities including case studies (including Orange: The color of responsibility and inclusion which investigates inclusion at ING Group) that have been widely used in MBA classrooms and executive education settings. The Centre also puts delivers a 2 hour workshop designed for women who wanted to improve their negotiating skills, an annual Women in Leadership conference, as well as an event for bachelor and master students exploring the gender biases of men – and women – about female leadership.

Career services: WHU- Otto Beisheim School of Management is highly committed to strengthening gender diversity. The school is participates in ‘Women into Leadership’, a mentoring program aimed specifically at closing the gap when it comes to female leadership. The programme, developed by an WHU alumna, particularly targets the challenges women experience transcending the second and third tier of the executive level. Career services also organises Women Leaders@WHU, a speaker series with lectures by high-caliber female presenters. Speakers from science, the business community, and politics provide new insights and act as inspiring role models with their regular presentations throughout the year.

Community engagement: Students at Indira School of Business Studies are active in community events to raise awareness and promote women empowerment. For example, in 2019, 16 students at presented a street play titled “Nari Ka Sangharsh” in Pune. The play was about the trials and tribulations of the Indian Woman. It covered women issues from the birth of a girl child, the gender inequality, child marriage and sexual abuse.

Action plan: Cass Business School achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in 2017. The SWAN Charter was established to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine employment in higher education and research. To obtain a bronze award the University reflected on its current culture, practices and processes and produced a four-year Action Plan to deliver improvements. This includes offering the Cass Global Women’s Leadership Programme, an innovative initiative designed to attract and nurture rising women leaders, funded by The Coca Cola Foundation.

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