Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything

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9780143114031: Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything

The defining examination of the new role of women in America?now fully revised

When first published in 2004, Marie Wilson?s Closing the Leadership Gap finally drew attention to what everyone knew but no one talked about?the lack of women in America?s leadership positions, even though compelling research shows that women enhance the top decision-making process dramatically. And yet, even as our nation sits on a world spinning with crises, we have barely begun to tap that most critical natural resource. With the possibility of America?s first woman president looming large, now is the time to revisit this inspiring call to action.

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Review:

Ms. Foundation President Marie Wilson is looking for some good women and men to become "post heroic" leaders. In Closing the Leadership Gap, Wilson focuses on the virtues of sharing power by skewering culture bound male leadership styles and celebrating the arguable premise that women use a similar "recipe" of leadership values such as inclusion and cooperation.

As co-founder of the White House project on women's leadership, Wilson is passionate in her belief that women's voices at the table offer an opportunity to shape policy around the marginalized issues of violence, education and healthcare. Making room for women at the top also gives men permission to bring their soft side to work." As she explains, "Both men and women must be in power to moderate the influence of masculinity in all of us." Such polemic does not prevent Wilson from making a persuasive case for role expansion rather than role reversal. Her practical approach to developing women as leaders is two pronged. First, individual women must confront four "Scarlett A's"(authority, ambition, ability, authenticity) that create barriers to leadership. Then, she describes the cultural and institutional changes that would involve men and women in sharing domestic leadership.

Her examples are fascinating and eclectic--including anecdotes about A-list leaders such as Hilary Clinton and Paramount Chair Sherry Lansing; research about hairstyles, husbands, and hemlines of female candidates; and tales from her election to the Des Moines City Council. Wilson puts on gender glasses to examine the "celluloid ceiling" in Hollywood. In all of her examples, the goal is nothing less than changing expectations of both sexes. Even those readers who may not agree that women share similar--even superior--leadership values, will applaud her goal: The opportunity for women and men to integrate the satisfactions of leadership and family life. --Barbara Mackoff

From the Back Cover:

"Every man who’s in despair over world leadership—and every woman who fears her gender is a barrier to leadership—will find hope and help in [this book]."
—Gloria Steinem

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