Two things stood out from my recent video interview* with Laurence Parisot, head of Medef, the French employers’ federation: one frivolous, one deadly serious. The first was that Parisot said that, aged nine, she had hoped to be “number one” in water-skiing (and, less surprisingly, in business or politics). The second was her equation of misogyny with racism.
For all the jokes about “man flu”, a new study shows men take fewer days off sick than women. The average man, the research indicates, takes 140 sick days during his career, while a woman calls in sick 189 times.
It is MBA season, the time of year when graduates move back into the business world, hoping their hard work will propel them effortlessly to the top.
The FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Programme has had six years of pairing chairmen and chief executives of the UK’s largest companies with nominated senior women executives from other companies.
The Professional Boards Forum has launched “BoardWatch” to track progress against the targets set down in Lord Davies’ report into the number of women on FTSE 100 boards. Drawing on data provided by BoardEx, a business networking service, BoardWatch will report monthly figures.
In the first of these reports, 31 per cent of new directors appointed to the boards of the UK’s largest 100 listed companies since March 1 are women. This has inched up the total percentage of women directors to 13.4 per cent (from 12.5 per cent at end-2010) and reduced the number of “stag” or all-male boards to 14 from 21.
Earlier today I was interviewing Olivia Lum, founder and chief executive of Hyflux, a global water treatment and filtration company based in Singapore.
Getting to the top of any organisation has always required toughness and political skill. If you want to be the chief executive you must be ready to roll up your sleeves and fight it out.
This year, four female directors have films in contention for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival – four more than last year.
As companies strive to meet targets – and, in a few countries, mandatory quotas – for women on corporate boards, one of the hardest myths to dispel is the lack of supply.
“The power of progress is fundamental to human nature, but few managers understand it or know how to use it to boost motivation.”