Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA (part 4): Women on campus

imagesBusiness schools around the world have taken a wide range of approaches when it comes to providing specific opportunities to promote and empower women in business. In the first blog we looked at range of resources on this topic and in the second post we looked at schools that provide a range of free certificate programmes through the 10,000 Women initiative. The third post looked at programmes being developed to empower women in the corporate world. Now, this post will consider the range of ways that schools are bringing up these issues to campus. 

Social Enterprise Week is an annual event where student clubs at the Graziadio School of Business and Management host a range of events to communicate the value of social and environmental responsibility, as well as sound ethical practices in business. During this week, the MBA Women Club, part of an international network dedicated to the advancement of business women as corporate leaders, held a panel discussion on Achieving the Feminine Triple Bottom Line.

A large number of signatory schools, such as Queen’s School of Business in Canada and London Business School in the UK, are also members of the Forte Foundation, a non profit consortium of major corporations and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education and opportunities. The schools provide, among other things, scholarships for women with high potential.

The Simmons School of Management has done extensive research around how gender is explored at a range of different business schools around the world. In 2012 they had an intensive, interdisciplinary student experience entitled the Simmons World Challenge where teams of students are invited to work with a small team of faculty over their winter break to develop creative solutions for major world problems.  The 2012 World Challenge theme was “At the Edge of Poverty:  Empowering Women to Change their Lives and their Worlds.” The MBA concentration in Organizational Leadership continues to have as its primary focus the success of women in organizations. As part of this, Simmons added a travel course to the UAE, including attendance and active participation in the 2012 Women as Global Leaders Conference (WAGL).

Villanova School of Business in the US has a Women in Business Advocacy Committee, dedicated to proposing measures that will enable all students to explore and understand issues that confront women as business leaders. They collaborate with the university-level Women’s Executive Leadership Program to ensure that the needs of VSB undergraduate and graduate students, VSB alumnae, and VSB corporate partners are best served.

The University of New South Wales in Australia has several programmes focused on women. The Academic Women’s Employment Strategy 2012- 2014 positions gender equity as a strategic priority for UNSW. In 2012 for the eighth consecutive year, it was recognised as an Employer of Choice for its initiatives to support and advance women in the workplace by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. Initiatives developed under UNSW’s gender equity program include the Academic Women in Leadership program, the Vice-Chancellor’s Childcare Support Fund for Women Researchers and the Career Advancement Fund. The school has an Academic Women in Leadership Program, designed for women seeking to develop leadership capability and includes themes such as authentic style, executive influence, adaptive leadership, thought leadership and one-to-one coaching. Their AGSM Women Indigenous Leaders Scholarship is provided yearly to Indigenous women entering the Women in Leadership Programme.

Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA (part 3): Empowering Women

imagesBusiness schools around the world have taken a wide range of approaches when it comes to providing specific opportunities to promote and empower women in business. In the first blog we looked at a range of resources on this topic, while in the second we looked at schools that provide free certificate programmes through the 10,000 Women initiative. Here we look at a range of other approaches being taken to empower women in the corporate world.

Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands has an initiative called Women Empowerment which encourages women to empower other women in business networks and high-performance environments. These activities were designed to address the specific challenges that women face when climbing the corporate ladder – a subject of great interest to project initiator and RSM Associate Dean of MBA programmes, Dr. Dianne Bevelander, who has actively researched the subject. In 2011, also based on this research, the school offered an elective called Mount Kilimanjaro Women Empowering Women. Fifteen women from the MBA programmes joined the course which involved going to Mount Kilimanjaro and focused on developing a greater understanding of how to work with other women in high performance environments.

In a bid to encourage more women to join the science, innovation and technology sectors and raise the profile of women currently in the industry, Newcastle University Business School in the UK launched an initiative called “North East of England Role Model Platform for Innovative Women.” The scheme, which has been established to help women overcome personal and professional barriers to success in the science, innovation and technology sectors, was initiated following research carried out by Professor Pooran Wynarczyk of Newcastle University Business School’s Small Enterprise Research Unit that showed that women were massively under represented in certain sectors, namely, in science, technology and innovation.

Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business is focused on helping women reach their full potential in the workplace and helping corporations engage the full potential of talented women leaders. Among other things they organize Best Practices Forums to engage critical thought-leaders and business professionals around the world to provide solutions for helping businesses harness the full potential of talented women leaders within their organizations and incorporating a culture of inclusion.

University of St. Gallen in Switzerland has put together a Management Certificate  called Women Back to Business, which helps women returning from an absence re-enter the job market in managerial positions. The programme is in collaboration with the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law together with Swiss and international companies. It is a one-year training program which includes career coaching, skill training, reflection workshops and practical experience in a company, public organization or NGO.


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


Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA (part 2): Entrepreneurship and 10,000 Women

 UnknownThe last blog focused on Women, Responsible Leadership and the MBA by looking at the range of initiatives and resources available on this topic. Now, the second part considers the growth in training programmes specifically focused on women entrepreneurs.

Specifically, we look at PRME signatories involved in the 10,000 Women project started by Goldman Sachs. The project is a five-year global initiative designed to help grow local economies and bring about greater shared prosperity by providing 10,000 underserved women entrepreneurs with business and management education, access to mentors and networks and links to capital. The project is currently operating in 43 different locations around the world and partners with local schools to develop and provide entrepreneurial training. Participating schools offer free certificate programmes for women around entrepreneurship which often also includes mentorship and networking opportunities.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Center of The American University in Cairo has created The 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Certificate Programs (WEL) for Egypt. The Center works to narrow the gender gap by supporting a pool of talented women entrepreneurs and leaders to become active contributors to the economic vitality of their communities. Over 303 entrepreneurs have been trained since 2008.

In Brazil, Fundação Dom Cabral offers, in partnership with INSEAD, a  Entrepreneurial Women Programme certificate, which covers strategy, finance, marketing, people, logistics and business plan development. Since 2009, there have been twelve classes for women to develop competencies and skills that entrepreneurs need to make their businesses grow. This year, over 200 women have signed up for the next programme. Also in Brazil, Fundação Getulio Vargas offers a similar certificate, while their website provides an overview of the different businesses run by women who have gone through the certificate programme.

In the US, Babson College was been working to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of small businesses across the United States by providing greater access to business education, mentors and networks, and financial capital. Delivered through community college partners at select sites across the US, participating business owners must have a minimum of four employees, been in business for at least two years and post annual revenues of between $150,000 and $4,000,000.

In Peru, the Universidad del Pacifico is also involved in training women entrepreneurs. Because Peru has a well-developed microfinance network, the programme uses these networks for recruiting purposes and offers alumni access to a range of finance options to help them grow their business.

In South Africa, University of Cape Town launched the Raymond Ackerman Academy 10,000 Women program which targets two social issues, increasing unemployment as well as the large and quickly growing youth population. The programme gives students the skills to help them pursue careers, further their studies or start their own business and is open to both women and men. University of Pretoria has a certificate programme for women which takes place for 16 days spread over 4 months and includes 6 months of mentorship, 6 months of community-based women entrepreneur dialogues and ongoing networking events.

In China, Tsinghua University has partnered with Yale to create the Yale-Tsinghua Certificate in Healthcare Management. The program aims to help female Chinese healthcare managers and officials attain knowledge, skills and networks necessary for continued growth in healthcare careers. The programme is looking to train around 500 female Chinese healthcare managers and officials.

In India, the Indian School of Business’ Women’s Entrepreneurs Certificate Programme has had over 550 women entrepreneurs who have successful completed the programme across Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. They also provide a system of mentorship both online and offline.

There are also a large number of signatory schools that have entrepreneurship programmes focused on women which are not part of the 10,000 Women initiative. International Business School in Lithuania in 2010 implemented a project “Promoting Entrepreneurship among Women in Georgia in the Context of Integration into the European Union.” The project was designed to contribute to Georgia’s economic and social development and programs. Promoting women’s entrepreneurship is seen as a preventive measure to reduce women’s unemployment and poverty levels as well as to contribute to one of the strategic goals of the Millennium Development project.

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.

Getting ready for Rio+20 – The Nine Major Groups (Part 2)

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by government action alone. It requires the participation of all sectors of societies. At the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, a document called Agenda 21 was released that, among other things, formalized groups whose contribution is crucial to making sustainable development a reality. Since then, these nine groups have represented the voice of their respective constituencies within UN meetings, including all subsequent Earth Summits.

With Rio+20 fast approaching, here is a brief overview of some of the activities that the different groups have planned (for more on Business and Industry, check out an earlier blog).

  • NGOs:  Because this is such a big group, a matrix has been developed of the wide range Rio+20 priority areas (24 in total), and facilitators have been assigned to each. Each of these groups also has events organised throughout June in Rio. NGOs are coordinating a lot of their projects and statements online through a variety of platforms, including NGORIOplus20 and a Ning site called Rio+20 NGO. The overall group is coordinated by CIVICUS, Northern Alliance for Sustainability and Consumers International.
  • Women: The women’s major group statement (which has been signed by a wide range of groups internationally online) focuses on gender equality in all spheres in our society, respect for human rights and social justice, and environmental conservation and protection of human health. During the Summit, the Good Practice Award will be given out by members of the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment. UN Women has been collecting the views and gender perspectives on sustainability and what that means for women around the world through the Rio+20 gender survey, which will be shared at the Summit. The group is coordinated by Women in Europe for a Common Future and Voices of African Mothers. You can also follow their activities by twitter (@Women_Rio20).
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