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Unpacking the ideas and trends shaping Asia’s future
 
Research tells us that women score better in most tests of leadership skills—so why aren’t more of them in top leadership positions? On this International Women's Day, let’s take a Deep Dive.

👍 Studies show that women are rated more positively than men in terms of their effectiveness as business leaders. The top reasons for this include their stronger learning agility and willingness to develop others.

🧠 The Covid-19 pandemic has been a real test of leadership. The winners, it seems, are the countries led by women, which are seeing much lower death rates. But some argue that the sample size is too small to tell if this means women make better political leaders.

🙅‍♀️ Women continue to face hurdles that prevent them from advancing into top leadership positions. This includes the double-bind dilemma, where female leaders are either perceived as competent or likeable, but rarely both and never just right.
"One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong."
6 A study found that countries led by women had six times fewer confirmed Covid-19 deaths than those led by men.

¼ According to a McKinsey report, there is only one woman for every four men in a leadership position in Asia-Pacific.

38% The Reykjavik Index found that only 38 percent of people in Japan are comfortable with the idea of a female head of government or a female CEO of a major company.

1st Earlier this year, former US senator Kamala Harris became the first woman of colour—and the first-ever woman—to be elected as the country's vice president. 
As of 2020, what percentage of Fortune 500 companies are led by women?

A. 5 percent
B. 8 percent
C. 11 percent

Scroll to the bottom of the email for the answer.
A study found that women are less confident about their professional qualifications than men until their mid-40s. Their level of confidence, however, increases at a faster rate than their male peers as they age. Interestingly, men see a drop in their confidence after the age of 60, while female confidence continues to rise.
💰 The world’s highest-paid CEO is, for the first time ever, a woman. According to the Associated Press’ annual report on CEO salaries, Lisa Su of multinational semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices took home US$13 million more than the highest-paid man on the most recent list.

🦇 One of the pandemic’s most recognised characters is a female virologist nicknamed “Batwoman”. In 2020, Shi Zhengli led one of the first scientific teams to discover that Covid-19 is in the same family of viruses as Sars.

🤔 We still don’t trust women to lead. The stereotype of women not being decisive or authoritative—traits traditionally associated with men—continue to undermine their ability to be effective leaders

🤷‍♀️ Women in Asia are less likely to get a challenging leadership role than men. And according to the same study, a higher percentage of women are also more likely to reject such opportunities.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg suggests an explanation for why fewer women hold leadership positions, and provides three pieces of advice for those who want to reach the top.
Zenger Folkman and Harvard Business Review
According to a study comparing men and women's leadership effectiveness before and during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, women received higher ratings overall for both periods. The difference between the scores of men and women also increased with the pandemic, implying that women may be performing better during the crisis.
Joey Wat
Joey Wat has been the CEO of Yum China since 2018, overseeing the country’s largest restaurant company with more than 10,000 restaurants, including Pizza Huts and KFCs. In 2019, the company reportedly brought in US$8.8 billion in revenue. Wat is one of just 37 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list.
Yzabell Palma
The founder of AirDisc Cooling Technologies, Yzabell Palma’s claim to fame is inventing an air conditioner that has low energy consumption and minimal chemical waste. She has been lauded for her work with several awards, including the James Dyson Award in 2019.
The “glass ceiling” metaphor has a lesser-known relative: the “glass cliff”. It describes the idea that when a company is struggling, a female leader is brought onboard to save it. In other words, when women are given the opportunity to prove themselves in a leadership role, they are also taking up a precarious position where there is a greater risk of falling.
That’s it for this issue. Have a productive week!

This issue of the Deep Dive was written by Chong Seow Wei, with design and illustration by Francesca Gamboa.

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The answer to the quiz is B (8 percent).
© 2021 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved. All material is © TatlerAsia.com.
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