Gender quotas might not have a sterling reputation, but Germany thinks they’re the answer to its male-dominated corporations. According to a new agreement between the parties negotiating to form Germany’s next governing coalition, supervisory boards…
This idea has been around for some time. In 2011, the 30 companies of the DAX index avoided binding quotas and instead pledged voluntarily to increase the proportion of women in management positions. France, Norway, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain have already instituted government-mandated quotas on public companies, though some will only take effect several years from now.
From the U.S., where women held only 16.1 percent of board seats by last count, it’s an intriguing experiment to watch for several reasons. Government-directed quotas are potentially unconstitutional, and even private companies seeking to set quotas have been told affirmative action plans need to meet pretty strict requirements to survive an equal protection or Civil Rights Act-based challenge. But many of the folks following women’s lack of progress on Wall Street would like to see the U.S. be, well, a little more Teutonic.
Quotas might be an awfully illiberal idea, but we can still learn from Germany’s great social experiment. Here’s why.
And the two groups with the strongest preference for male bosses were women and Republicans. Yes, women.
Minority role models seem to be at the heart of some positive outcomes for students.
Read more. [Image: Daquella Manera/Flickr]
What makes a significant other different from a very dear friend?
Well, besides that.
Facebook data scientists have developed a novel method for identifying who among a user’s friends is that person’s partner—and their work puts an empirical stamp on something that is perhaps intuitive: A significant other occupies a unique place in a person’s social network, one characterized not by “embeddedness”—the standard way of measuring a tie’s proximity—but by what the researchers call “dispersion.”
Here’s what that means: The number of mutual friends (“embeddedness”) is a reliable indicator of how close two people are. Simply put: You have more friends in common with your closest friends than with your acquaintances.
Read more. [Image: Rebecca J. Rosen]
…I knew it.
Ever wonder how Black Friday got its name? Amy Merrick explores its origins, and debunks the myths behind shopping’s biggest day of the year: http://nyr.kr/1a8aS0h
“It turns out that a lot of what we’re told about Black Friday is invented by retailers and the marketing experts they hire. Retailers like Black Friday because the earlier customers start their holiday shopping, the more they are likely to spend over all.”
Photograph by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty.
Please stay home, north park shoppers
In the two years before Obama became president and job losses bottomed out, young people born between the 1980s and the end of the century (a.k.a.: Millennials) were fleeing Washington, D.C. But in the next two years, the city and its surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia added more Millennials than any other city in America.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Pascal Rigo set out to make his La Boulange the Starbucks of pastries. Then Starbucks acquired his company for $100 million. Here’s how he plans to reinvent America’s pastry cases.
Across the technology sector there is a major disparity between men and women.
While 57 percent of occupations in the workforce are held by women, in computing occupations that figure is only 25 percent. Of chief information officer jobs (CIOs) at Fortune 250 companies, 20 percent were held by a woman in 2012.
Unfortunately, this is not merely a temporary blip, as this disparity is present at the college level. In 2010, although 57 percent of undergraduate degree recipients were female, but only 14 percent of the computer science degrees at major research universities. Incredibly, this number has actually fallen in recent years: In 1985, 37 percent of undergraduates degree recipients in computer science were women. Today, just 0.4 percent of female college freshmen say they intend to major in computer science—an astoundingly low number.
Looking to the data from high schoolers, the disparity is still extreme. While 56 percent of Advanced Placement test-takers were female, only 19 percent of test-takers on the AP Computer Science test were. At the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), one of the world’s largest pre-college sciences competitions with more than $4,000,000 in awards, only 17 percent of 2011 finalists in computer science were young women.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]