Yesterday I was on a panel of speakers discussing online banking. There were five men on the panel and one woman. As I travelled to the event I read a magazine for web designers where several leading web companies gave advice on how best to produce websites these days considering the vast uptake in mobile. All of the people quoted in the article were men. On the way home I picked up a newspaper and read the business section – only one woman was mentioned. The world of business and online seems to be dominated by men.
And today we discover that this male dominated industry is in trouble. The Internet has been suffering a major international slow-down thanks to a concerted cyberattack.
But it is not just the web that is wobbling. The world’s financial systems are in turmoil as the Eurozone has been split into two thanks to the Cyprus issue. And what do you see in all those discussions in Brussels about the banking crisis – loads of middle-aged men. And then you turn to look at the pictures of Wall Street or the City to see who is trying to repair the damage and what do you see? That’s right – loads more men.
The Internet is prone to attack, the world is still suffering from the financial crisis of five years ago, the retail sector is in the doldrums – and who is running businesses supposed to get us out of this mess? Men. Who got us into this mess? Men. Only 9% of company directors worldwide are women. But things could be about to change.
New research confirms that women make better decisions than men and that this has a significant advantage for business. And this is not for the reason you might think, that they are soft and fluffy and help people work together. In fact, one of the reasons behind the advantage of having women run businesses is that they are much more prepared to rock the boat than men. It turns out that men want to stick to rules and to do things “the right way”, while women want to get the right results, even if that means adapting and changing.
The way online business is going you need to have skills which allow you to adapt and change rapidly as the technology shifts. Similarly, you also need to be able to co-operate because web development often requires a range of different professions. The new research shows that women are simply better than men at producing effective collaboration and encouraging change.
Which can only mean one thing – if you want a successful online business, get a woman to run it. Goodness me – that’s what Yahoo have just done…! And since appointing Marissa Mayer as their CEO, Yahoo’s stock price has gone up in value by 50%. Not bad for less than a year’s work.