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Despite years of discussion about the alleged advantages of gender diversity only 8.5% of top executives in Britain’s 350 largest companies are women.

The most common narratives in circulation range from ‘scientific’ gender difference to popular feminism’s message of individual empowerment. According to developmental psychologists, women have essentially different brains, wired to do empathy and motherhood, rather than leadership. But even advocates for women leaders emphasise difference as a foundation of the ‘business case’: (naturally) empathic and risk-averse women at the top lead to better business results, ethics, decision-making and innovation. Diversity champions and celebrity executives point to role models and suggest that each woman can make it to the top — it is a matter of being confident and keen enough, of overcoming her ‘internal barriers’. And still, employers insist, they can’t find enough qualified women in the so-called ‘pipeline’. Women are blamed for their ‘ambition gap’ and preference for ‘feminine’ professions.

Heide Baumann, a seasoned business Executive and multi-disciplinary PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge (MMLL Faculty), examines compelling counter-evidence that tells quite a different story.

This event is held in conjunction with Cambridge University Library’s exhibition The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge. It is supported by the University’s Equality and Diversity Office.

The Rising Tide: Women at Cambridge

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For the full Festival of Ideas programme click here.

Image copyright: Cristina Conti
Event speaker: 
Heide Baumann, PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge (MMLL Faculty)
Location: 
Cambridge University Library
Date: 
Wednesday, 16 October, 2019
Time: 
17.30-18.30
Audience: 
ALL WELCOME
Booking: 
Booking required