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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/10/8 8:27:22

Successful women do not always make the best role models





If Hillary Clinton wins the US presidential election in November, three of the world’s five largest economies will be led by women. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, Theresa May, UK prime minister, and Mrs Clinton, have all been hailed as role models for women and girls. But the singularity and precariousness of their success raises the question: are women automatically good examples for other women?

如果希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)赢得11月的美国总统选举,那么在世界五大经济体中,三个经济体的领导人都将是女性。德国总理安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)、英国首相特里萨•梅(Theresa May)和希拉里,都已被誉为妇女与少女的楷模。但是,她们成功的异常性和不稳定性引出了如下疑问:女性会自然而然成为其他女性的好榜样吗?广州经济翻译公司。


The ability of role models, in portraits and more importantly in the flesh, to influence gender inequality is both encouraging and muddy,” says Iris Bohnet, professor of public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

“楷模——通过肖像和更重要的身体力行——影响性别不平等的能力既令人鼓舞,又有些含混,”哈佛大学(Harvard University)肯尼迪学院(Kennedy School)的公共政策教授艾里斯•博内特(Iris Bohnet)说。


Some evidence on the power of role models is overwhelmingly positive. Ms Bohnet cites the Panchayati Raj act, a constitutional amendment in India introduced in 1993, which stipulated that village councils needed to reserve one-third of their seats, and one-third of their council leader positions, for women. Not only did the share of Indian local government posts held by women rise from 5 per cent in 1993 to 40 per cent by 2005, but the new role models the law created had a dramatic impact on families and younger women.

有些关于楷模力量的证据是压倒性正面的。博内特引用了印度于1993年颁布的一个宪法修正案——《潘查亚特制度法》(Panchayati Raj act)——该法规定,村委会应保留三分之一的席位、三分之一的领导岗位给女性。从1993年到2005年,在印度地方政府担任职务的女性比例从5%上升至40%。同时,该法造就的新楷模对千家万户和年轻妇女产生了非常大的影响。广州经济翻译公司。


With the advent of female village leaders, the likelihood that a woman spoke up in a village meeting increased by 25 per cent. Villagers who had been exposed to at least two female chiefs in West Bengal overcame their initial bias against women as leaders and rated male and female leaders equally. This category of converts included parents, who were more likely to want their daughters to study past secondary school, thus eliminating the gender gap in aspirations. The Indian legislation, writes Ms Bohnet in her book What Works: Gender Equality by Design, showed that “the act of seeing women lead increased women’s self-confidence and their willingness to compete in male-dominated domains, and it changed men’s and women’s beliefs about what an effective leader looked like”.

随着女性村领导登场,女性在村会议上发言的可能性提高了25%。在西孟加拉邦(West Bengal),至少见过两名女长官的村民们克服了他们最初对女性领导的偏见,开始对男性和女性领导人平等看待。改变观念的群体包括父母,他们更可能希望女儿在读完中学后深造,由此消除了男女在抱负上的差距。博内特在她的书《什么管用:用设计来实现性别平等》(What Works: Gender Equality by Design)中写道,这部印度法律表明,“看到妇女担任领导职位,加强了妇女们的自信,使她们更愿意在男性占主导地位的领域展开竞争,这改变了男人和妇女对于有效领导人是什么样子的观念”。


There is plenty of evidence from elsewhere in the world on the effectiveness of female role models. In the US, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission analysed data from more than 20,000 private-sector companies and found that, when the share of female top managers increased, the share of women in middle-management subsequently rose.

世界其他地区也有大量证据证明了女性楷模的作用。在美国,平等就业机会委员会(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)在分析了逾2万家私营部门公司的数据后发现,当担任高层管理人的女性比例提高时,担任中层管理岗位的女性比例随后也会提高。广州经济翻译公司。


The US research contains some less good news, though. It found that the positive influence of women in top leadership positions on gender diversity at management level diminished over time, suggesting that women at the top play a positive yet transitory role in women’s career advancement.



Richie Zweigenhaft, a professor of psychology at Guilford College in North Carolina, provides one possible explanation for this in his recent book on female and ethnic minority chief executives at Fortune 500 companies. He suggests that the existence of a few trailblazers has allowed companies and political parties to become lazier in promoting women.

里奇•威根哈福特(Richie Zweigenhaft)是北卡罗来纳州吉尔福德学院(Guilford College)的心理学教授。他在最近一本有关财富500(Fortune 500)女性和少数族裔CEO的书中对此提出了一个可能的解释。他提出,少量开拓者的存在,使得公司和政党在提拔女性方面变得懈怠。广州经济翻译公司。


One of the “ironic effects” of the past rise in numbers of women at the top, Prof Zweigenhaft argues, may be that the “heyday of diversity has come and gone”. His study found that the number of white women, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans appointed as the chief executives of Fortune 500 companies declined sharply in 2015. Now that a few women have made it to the top, there appears to be less, not more, pressure on boards to appoint them.



Such a development is itself open to alternative explanations. There are just 21 women at the helm of Fortune 500 companies, meaning that even one fewer female chief executive constitutes a large percentage swing. In addition, the fact that women make up just 4 per cent of chief executives may not constitute enough of a “critical mass” for less senior women to aspire to.



Indeed, having a small number of highly successful women at the top can prove a double-edged sword. Anecdotal evidence suggests that if the women in leadership posts are overwhelmingly white, highly educated — and often childless — this can deter other women who do not fit these categories.



The experience of much-written-about “superwomen”, such as fund managers Nicola Horlick and Helena Morrissey in the UK, or Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook in the US, can sometimes discourage as much as encourage those attempting to imitate their success.

新闻报道中常常提到的“女超人”——比如英国的基金经理妮古拉•霍利克(Nicola Horlick)和海伦娜•莫里西(Helena Morrissey)、或者美国的Facebook首席运营官谢里尔•桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)——既有可能鼓舞那些试图效仿其成功的女性,有时也有可能让后者泄气。广州经济翻译公司。


Brenda Trenowden, chair of the 30% Club, which campaigns globally to increase female representation at senior corporate levels, acknowledges the problem. But she also proposes a solution, suggesting that more senior women need to be encouraged “to talk authentically and frankly, warts and all” about their rise to top positions. There is no “normal” for how to go about engineering success or what that might even look like; nor is there is one “correct” model for getting to the top “and that needs to be visibly and candidly reflected in society,” she says.

在全球推动增加女性在企业高层任职的“30%俱乐部”(30% Club)的主席布伦达•特雷诺登(Brenda Trenowden)承认存在这一问题。不过她也提出了一个解决方案:需要鼓励更多高层女性“真诚、坦白、毫无保留地讨论”她们晋升至顶级职位的过程。她称,对于如何取得成功或者怎样算成功,没有什么“正常模式”;也没有什么晋升至高层的“正确”模式,“而那需要明显而坦白地反映于社会”。


Deborah Gillis, president of Catalyst, which campaigns to improve gender diversity at work, argues that the presence of more women in senior positions helps to break down the “think-leader-think-male” mindset. Ms Gillis points out that women such as Ms Merkel and Mrs Clinton often face “biting” judgments about their gender, experience, likeability and their appearance. Men who run for office or rise to lead companies are largely free from such criticism and benefit from long-held advantages in politics, business and society as a whole. A critical mass of women at the top should slowly change that.

致力于推进职场性别多元化的组织Catalyst的总裁德波拉•吉利斯(Deborah Gillis)认为,更多女性出现在高级岗位有助于打破“想到领导就想到男性”的思维模式。吉利斯指出,像默克尔和希拉里这样的女性往往面对着外界对其性别、经验、亲和度和外表的“尖刻”评价。参加竞选或晋升到掌门人位置的男性在很大程度上不会遭受类似批评,同时受益于男性在政界、商界和整个社会的长期优势。高层女性达到关键多数应该会慢慢改变这一现状。