Good morning, Broadsheet readers. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty reportedly has become the third female member of Augusta National Golf Club, and Taylor Swift identified her female role models. Read on to hear how we could get to gender parity faster on corporate boards. Have a fantastic weekend!
• Rometty hits the big links. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is reported to have joined Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as the only female members of Augusta National, the golf club that plays home to the Masters tournament. While Rometty won’t confirm the membership, earlier this week she was observed being congratulated by other members. In 2011, soon after Rometty became IBM’s first female CEO—and faced pressure to boycott the Masters despite Big Blue’s longtime sponsorship of the tournament—it was rumored that she would become the first female member. Yet, as Fortune’s Pattie Sellers wrote at the time, “that bold move would have signaled to critics that the ultimate old boys’ club was caving to social pressure.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Gail Kelly to step down. Kelly, CEO of Australia’s Westpac Banking and No. 1 on Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women of Asia Pacific, is leaving the bank after seven years. “Back yourself, ask for opportunities and dig deep when those opportunities come your way and have a go,” she said in a press conference.
The Sydney Morning Herald
• Taylor Swift talks role models. The second highest-paid woman in music told Time that actress Mariska Hargitay and chef Ina Garten are among her favorite female role models. “I surround myself with smart, beautiful, passionate, driven, ambitious women. Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you.”
• Nancy Pelosi blasts reporter. The House minority leader brought gender into the discussion after a female reporter asked if Pelosi considered stepping down after the Democrats’ losses in the midterm elections. “It just is interesting, as a woman, to see how many times that question is asked of a woman, and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell,” she said.
• Brewer takes on Costco. Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam’s Club, is on a mission to take on her bulk-store competition by offering small business members services like health insurance and payroll management.”If a retailer can get it right, these small businesses can use all the help they can get,” she told Fortune.
• From the MPW co-chairs: A good way for startups to attract more women is by hiring a head of HR, particularly given that 74% of HR managers are female, writes Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram. Yet for many startups, “the practice of bringing on an HR professional has become a bit like when celebrities check themselves into rehab after going on an offensive rant—it’s too little, too late,” she writes.
• Correction: Yesterday’s Broadsheet misidentified Gail Boudreaux’s title at UnitedHealth Group. She is an executive vice president. I apologize for the error.
A call to action for companies with no female directors
After years of making the business case for diverse boards via research and panel discussions, it’s time for a different approach.
Despite all of the studies showing how corporate boards with female directors perform better than all-male boards, women currently occupy only 16.9% of Fortune 500 corporate board seats. In the last decade, that percentage has grown by just 3.3%.
“We don’t need any more studies, we get it,” says Janice Ellig, the co-CEO of executive search firm Chadick Ellig. “There is a pipeline out there of very talented women running major divisions at companies or law firms or working in science and they should be sitting on boards.”
To accelerate change, the Committee for Economic Development, a business-oriented public policy group, plans to go directly to nominating committees of prominent corporate boards to engage them in a dialogue. By making some simple changes to the way that they think about recruiting new directors, the CED believes the U.S. can achieve 30% female representation on corporate boards by 2018.
“You get a lot further by talking with people rather than talking at them,” says Debra Perry, the co-chair of CED’s women’s economic contribution subcommittee. “There is a vast amount of research and public relations efforts that have been underway, but there still has been very little progress.”
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Tina Fey ‘breaks the Internet.’ Kim Kardashian may have hoped to “break the Internet” by posing bottomless on the cover of Paper magazine but, in fact, it was actress Tina Fey who is getting a lot of the attention from Kardashian’s shoot. In Fey’s 2011 book Bossypants, she writes that Kardashian’s image sets unrealistic standards for young women about what beauty is. The passage, which jokingly says that Kardashian “was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes,” is now being resurfaced all over the web.
• ‘Don’t you dare advocate for diversity.’ For minorities and women working in Silicon Valley, championing diversity and inclusion is sometimes much more trouble than it’s worth. While the issue is being talked about more and more, the men and women who are being hired to solve the problem are often coached to not take it on themselves, according to report by Bloomberg.
ON MY RADAR
|Many issues people point to as factors that hold women back, like the unauthoritative sound of our voices, may just be symptoms of the fact that there are not more women in leadership roles, rather than causes. If we had more female leaders, perhaps people would start to associate the sound of a woman’s voice with leadership.|
|-- Jody Greenstone Miller, the CEO of Business Talent Group, told the New York Times.|