Utilizing all our human resources.
Less radical, and likely to wreak less havoc on the male endocrine system, is just getting a better gender balance in the financial industry and markets. We need to counter the geysers of over-confidence that can lead to dangerous risk-taking, says Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist and author of the recent book “How We Decide.” “Perhaps what that requires is a few less men in the boardroom,” he says.
It’s already happening. In Iceland, two women were put in charge of troubled, nationalized banks. In Norway, the law requires that 40 percent of the directors of public companies be women. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president of the New York-based Center for Work-Life Policy, suggests the same mandate for companies in the U.S.
Michel Ferrary, human resources professor at Ceram, the French business school, calculated the percentages of women in management positions at publicly held French companies to see if gender made a difference in the crashing markets of 2008. Companies such as Hermes International, with 55 percent female managers, outperformed the CAC 40 last year while those such as Credit Agricole, with 16 percent female managers, underperformed, he found.
In the next bubble, maybe the guy-heavy companies will do best. But wouldn’t we all feel better if the highs were lower and the lows were higher? While we work on the problem, have some sympathy for your guy friends in finance. It isn’t easy getting mocked about how you’ve been making a mess of things with your flighty, out-of-control hormones. [More]
Farming badly lags other industries in deploying women into positions of power, and more importantly counterbalancing influence.
Those operations who do will, I believe, verify the implications of the story above.