Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Today we hear from Dell’s EMEA president on how to get more male executives to champion gender diversity. Read on to learn why Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was a big winner on election night. Have a great Thursday!
• Meet the youngest woman elected to Congress. Ever. By beating Democratic Party candidate Aaron Woolf in New York’s 21st Congressional District, 30-year-old Republican Elise Stefanik made history. “We are here tonight because you believed that Washington is ready for fresh ideas and a new generation of leadership,” she said in her victory speech.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Disappointment across party lines. Although 100 women will serve in Congress next year for the first time, both Republican and Democratic female politicians were dismayed by the modest growth. “Women are not making dramatic gains in elective office, certainly at the highest level,” said Olympia Snowe, the Republican former senator from Maine. “We are making some strides, but obviously not giant ones.”
• Can she save the NFL? Anna Isaacson, the league’s new VP of social responsibility, has little prior experience dealing with domestic violence or sexual assault. Critics are calling the 35 year-old’s appointment an example of the “glass cliff,” where a woman is put in a position of power only to be doomed to fail. Isaacson isn’t fazed. “There’s a lot of pressure to fix this and make it right. But a lot of that is pressure I put on myself. And I relish the opportunity to make it right,” she told ESPN.
• GoldiBlox takes on Barbie. The engineering toy company for girls that began on Kickstarter is challenging the traditional image of beauty with a new doll equipped with crazy hair, a hammer and sneakers. GoldiBlox also put out an Orwellian-themed and rebellious advertisement for the new toy that’s worth clicking over to see.
• Megyn Kelly’s big win. Fox News won the election-night ratings battle, beating out rivals like CNN and MSNBC. Kelly and co-anchor Bret Baier averaged 6.3 million viewers during primetime.
• Taylor Swift makes history. Her new album 1989 sold 1.287 million copies in its first week, making her the only female musician to have three albums sell over one million copies in a single week.
• The white woman obsession. 81% of white female voters have been contacted by political campaigns in key swing states. Why? “White people tend to vote Republican in recent elections, as they tend to be older, richer, and more conservative,” making white women a key group for Republicans struggling to get votes from other female demographics.
Correction: Yesterday’s Broadsheet incorrectly identified the race that Wendy Davis lost on election day. It was the Texas governor’s race. I apologize for the error!
Want more men to talk gender diversity? Bring in the bottom line
In 2011, Dell executive Aongus Hegarty was looking to build out his team. The newly-appointed president of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) asked for the names of the company’s best senior leaders.
After some time, he received 15 names. Just one belonged to a woman.
“It was then that I realized that my team wasn’t as successful as it could be,” Hegarty said in an interview with Fortune at the annual Dell World conference in Austin, Texas. “Leaders tend to bring people in that have similar experiences, but to excel you need a really diverse team.”
Hegarty, who now also co-leads Dell’s EMEA women’s network, says diversity is good for Dell not just from an ethical standpoint. He champions bringing in more female leaders because he can see the results in the company’s financial statements. In 2011, roughly 7% of his leadership team was female. Now, women make up a third of his team, and he believes that Dell’s business in the region has benefited tremendously from the diversity.
“I see it in our business, our results and our performance,” he said. “It’s there. No question.”
Hegarty’s comments were echoed in a subsequent panel discussion on closing the gender gap in IT. Nasrin Rezai, chief technology risk officer at financial services firm State Street, said if men are going to take gender diversity seriously, you need to show them how it can increase performance. Having worked with mostly male execs for her entire career, Rezai says men are very transaction-focused. If you show them that investing in more female talent will generate a higher return, they will most likely be interested.
Anna Beninger, director of research at Catalyst, said Hegarty’s and Rezai’s personal experiences are both spot on with what she sees in her studies. Companies with women on boards and in executive leadership positions have been found to outperform. Once male executives leaders realize they could lose market share by not making their teams as diverse as their customers or clients, they start to listen.
To get more men actively thinking about diversity and gender inclusion, Catalyst launched an online community called Men Advocating For Real Change. MARC also offers a six-month program for men committed to achieving gender equality in their workplaces. Dell is the first (and only) IT company to sign on to Catalyst’s initiative (so far).
“When you’re a white male, it’s hard to know what it’s like to be anything other than a white male,” said Beninger. “This program goes beyond awareness to action.”
Hegarty acknowledges that Dell and the IT industry have a long way to go. Yet each time he has a conversation on the topic, he says he makes sure to push himself to learn more about experiences outside of his own. After all, his bottom line could very well depend on it.
“We won’t stop until we have 50% women in leadership,” he said. “That’s when we know we truly share our customers’ experiences.”
What do you think? Share your thoughts on Twitter with #DellWorld and #Broadsheet.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The femininity catch-22. Businesswomen who act too feminine at work are not taken seriously, but women who don’t play up their beauty enough can be equally hurt in the workplace. The lesson: Women need to be smart about the culture of their workplace and what type of behavior is acceptable.
• Seek reinvention. Deanie Elsner, EVP and CMO of the Kraft Foods Group, has kept her 20-year career at Kraft exciting by constantly going after new challenges. “I’ve found that many new opportunities exist beneath the surface – all you have to do is raise your hand and ask,” she said.
ON MY RADAR
|What you measure, you will change.|
|-- Telle Whitney, the president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, on why the media needs to continue to report on the shortage of diversity in tech.|