This week in our Women in Comms roundup: New York and San Fran improve parental policies; gender parity boosts the GDP; female-led businesses take off; and more.
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It's been a pretty remarkable week for progress in parental leave policies from coast-to-coast. First, New York signed a bill guaranteeing new parents partial pay for 12 weeks. Then, San Francisco upped the ante by guaranteeing both women and men full pay for six weeks to improve upon its existing policy of 55% pay for six weeks. The New York Times takes an interesting look this week at why it matters and why things may finally start to look up for new parents in the US. We certainly hope this becomes a nationwide competition! (See New York Scores a Big Win for Families .)
Achieving gender parity in the US could add $4.3 trillion to the country's economy in 2025, according to new research from McKinsey & Co. The report finds that every US state and city can add at least 5% to their GDP over the next ten years by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of US states could add more than 10%, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6% to 13%. Silicon Valley stands to gain 9%. McKinsey admits its unlikely to achieve complete gender equality in this next decade, but suggests that an additional $2.1 trillion in GDP is doable with concerted effort to increase women's labor force participation. This would require an investment of $475 billion more capital in 2025 to help create 6.4 million jobs for women. (See McKinsey: Women Less Likely to Advance at Work.)
There's been a swell in fast-growing female-led businesses, with S'well at the top, according to the latest figures from the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO). The non-profit put out its ninth-annual list of the top 50 women-owned businesses, those that are privately held and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2011 and $2 million in 2015. The resulting list made a total of $4.96 billion in revenues last year, and water bottle company S'well topped the list with revenue of almost $50 million in 2015. Check out the full list of companies, which includes a number of tech companies, online at Fortune. (See The Rise of Women Startups.)
Silicon Valley may be all over the quirky job perks we've covered before like free Kindles, time off to volunteer, egg freezing and travel funds, but it's no substitute for a company culture that supports women and those who don't fit the aggressive, outspoken mold. A blog by Shift COO and Co-Founder and ex- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-er Minnie Ingersoll this week calls out the Valley for its culture problem, noting that there's little space for "non-aggressive, soft-spoken people to succeed." Her suggestion to fix the problem is, first, fire all the assholes, and second, hire the "asshole police" to assign time outs to those that lose their tempers, set up performance indicators that account for different work styles, fund female entrepreneurs and encourage them to be themselves. (See What Is Your Company's Gender IQ?)
In recognition of the importance of mentors but reality that they are often hard for women to find, mentor-pairing startup Everwise was formed to match volunteer mentors -- both men and women -- with mentees from all over the country. They meet virtually over the phone and video chat and won't necessarily even be in the same industry, although more than 76% are director level or above. The startup matches professionals by analyzing their resumes, LinkedIn profiles and through questionnaires and personal interviews. (See Are You My Mentor?)
— Sarah Thomas, , Director, Women in Comms