Redefining professional success and concepts of excellence: integrating a gender perspective


Kamberidou, I., & Fabry, E. (2012). Redefining professional success and concepts of excellence: integrating a gender perspective. Reflections on women in entrepreneurship and ICT/A reader. Militos Emerging Technologies & Services, 10–27. Copy at


Integrating a gender perspective means eliminating the wastage of talent— utilizing all human resources— and as a result boosting innovation, a prerequisite for economic growth and effective sustainable development. In the last decade studies confirm that companies, firms, organizations and institutions that recognise talent in any form and make good use of it show greater success rates with regard to profits and sustainability. Research shows that women are an economic force to be reckoned with for sustainable economic recovery. This does not mean that women are inherently more talented and better skilled than men. It does however indicate that companies that have utilized their entire talent pool and identified and promoted female talent into leadership roles, have a vital competitive advantage. Surveys also confirm that female-led ICT businesses and women-owned firms (women entrepreneurs) have been successfully competing in the global market, the latter using more high technology systems than their male counterparts. Despite gender mainstreaming policies, legislation and the recognition by many companies, organizations and institutions that diversity is essential, women are less satisfied with their careers as they still lag behind men in compensation and advancement. In examining the three major gender gaps— the leadership gap, the pay gap and the participation gap— this paper argues that integrating a gender perspective is vital in order to eliminate gender devaluation, namely the subtle processes by which women’s contributions are minimized, undervalued or devalued in the so-called male professions. Integrating a gender perspective, a social, cultural and technical process, requires shifts not only in organisational practices, attitudes or ways of thinking, but also in resource allocations, goals and structures along with monitoring processes. This paper argues for an Alternative Model which entails: recruitment and politicizing the personal, namely "flexibility re-thought" along with technology as an enabler, rethinking and redefining the model for professional life, auditing compensation practices, identifying high-potential people and re-training returners. Specifically, gender diversity mainstreaming (integrating a gender perspective) in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), research and development (R&D), the academia, product and service innovation, health action and services, innovation management and economic global competition, which is becoming increasingly tough, means redefining professional success and concepts of excellence. It requires setting up an all encompassing European collaborative platform or hub of information that will encourage future debates and synergies for establishing measures and best practices at many levels, finding alternative paths to advancement and participation (eg. A holistic approach, flexible work, eliminating age barriers for men and women, rewarding social service), identifying the voice of the next generation, creating opportunities for visibility, testimonial sharing, generating insights on how to contribute effectively to organizational growth, formal mentoring programs for both women and men, ethnic minority groups, among other things.


Keywords: wastage-leakage of talent, gender devaluation, gender fatigue, tokenism, glass escalator, gender energy, renegotiating concepts of excellence/success

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kamberidou, Irene & Fabry, Eva (2012). The paper was presented at the INNOVACIONES CIENTÍFICAS Y PERSPECTIVA DE GÉNERO (Scientific Innovations and the Gender Perspective) on 12-13 April, Madrid Spain. Organised by CIREM Foundation: Centre for European Initiatives and Research in the Mediterranean (CIREM).   Click and read the article:
 Redefining Professional Success and Concepts of Excellence: Integrating a Gender Perspective « genderit