May 6, 2008

News & Opinion: A glaring gap in the list

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:25 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy

There's a post up on the WSJ's Independent Street Blog pointing out that the Journal's list of the top most influential business thinkers does not include a single woman. The author, Wendy Bounds, poses these questions:
Why do you think there aren't more influential women business thinkers on today's list? How can this change? If you're a man, would you be motivated hearing a female speaker? If no, why? If yes, who? Women, what about you?

These aren't easy questions to answer, but not for lack of examples or role models. A few of the names mentioned in the comments include author Laura Ries (co-founder of Ries & Ries, with her father, Al Ries), co-author of Blue Ocean Strategy Renee Mauborgne, prominent gender and workplace issues expert Sylvia Ann Hewlett, strategic sourcing expert Mary Lacity, and others.
A question I might add is, Why does it take lots of time and a historical perspective to give women the credit they deserve? Perhaps the issue isn't that there is a lack of influential women thinkers, but that we're all--men and women alike--still uncomfortable with acknowledging their influence. We can admit that female leaders of the past made a profound impact on our society; why not the leaders of today?
In our line of work, we encounter this issue over and over again. Why aren't more women business book authors? Why don't their books hit the big-time like Gladwell, Friedman, and Hamel's books? (All made the top 5.) And, perhaps more constructively, what will it take for us to issue women the same credit we quickly hand over to male business gurus?
Who do you count among the most influential women thinkers of today?