Gender and Sustainability: Why Women Care More


July 2003 Volume I Number 2

Net Contents
I. Network Presentation:
Hosted by GE Structured Finance

II. Network Presenters:
Judy Samuelson, Executive Director
Nancy McGaw, Deputy Director Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program

III. New Network Donor
Swiss Re is WNSF’s First Associate Sponsor

IV. Network’s Next Scheduled Event
Pfizer to Host Luncheon Panel Public Health and Corporate Responsibility

V. Network Survey

VI. Network Concept

I. Network Presentation
Thanks…to all who attended WNSF’s luncheon presentation, “Gender and Sustainability: Why Women Care More,” hosted by GE Structured Finance at the GE Building in NYC on June 24. And to those of you who missed it, we look forward to welcoming you to our first scheduled event next fall (see section IV, below)

II. Network Presenters
WNSF…was pleased to invite Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, and Nancy McGaw, Deputy Director, of the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program to present results of a newly released survey of MBA students at premiere business schools, titled “Where Will They Lead? MBA Attitudes about Business & Society 2003.” The 20-minute presentation was followed by a lively 40-minute discussion, during which participants exchanged stories of on-the-job experiences that largely confirmed anecdotally much of the survey’s statistical information. The survey results reveal that attitudes of women MBA students diverge markedly from those of their male counterparts across a range of issues, from CEO compensation to investing in the developing world. Notably, the results suggest that women MBAs are more likely than men to view a “well-run” company as one that adheres to a strong mission and code of ethics.

Women MBAs place greater emphasis on four values-related issues:

  • Corporate responsibility to contribute to the community
  • Progressive corporate environmental policies
  • Corporate responsibility and reputation of a potential employer
  • Values-based issues in the classroom

Men and women cite the same three reasons to earn an MBA-to gain business savvy, to improve career opportunities, and to grow professionally and personally-and five years later both say building careers and relationships are their top two priorities. But they place different emphasis on other goals: women want to make a positive impact on society, pursue personal interests and earn a high income-in that order-with men reversing the order of those aims. The study reveals a number of noteworthy statistics. Just 42 percent of men say being involved in their community will be a priority five years after graduating, compared with 51 percent of women. When it comes to corporate reputation, 63 percent of women strongly agree it’s important in deciding on where to work, compared with 52 percent of men. And 29 percent of women, versus 18 percent of men, strongly agree they want to know more about how companies fulfill their social responsibilities while they’re being recruited. Progressive environmental policies are more important to women than to men. Overall, men place more emphasis on remuneration-for themselves as earners and for shareholders-than women. Said Nancy McGaw: “The report supports the general trend that the definition of business success is changing. Within this trend, women are a major force in rethinking the business landscape and holding corporate decision making to a high standard.” Twelve prestigious business schools, including Columbia, Haas, Wharton and Yale, participated in the study. Of respondents, 65 percent were men, 35 percent women. The Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program’s mission is to “increase the supply of business leaders who understand-and seek to balance-the complex relationship between business success and social and environmental progress.”

III. New Network Donor
WNSF…thanks Christine Seketa, former sustainability communications manager at Swiss Re, for her support of the Network. Thanks to her efforts, Swiss Re has become WNSF’s first Associate Sponsor, joining AT&T as Founding Sponsor.

IV. Network’s Next Scheduled Event
Pfizer…will host WNSF’s next scheduled luncheon panel, “Public Health, Women and Corporate Responsibility,” on October 31. Look for emailed save-the-date invitations.

V. Network Survey
WNSF’s second survey was distributed at the June 24 event and later emailed to all who confirmed their participation beforehand. In developing future direction and programs, the Network places enormous value on participant input, and we urge you to return completed surveys by email to:

Participants will receive periodic reminders throughout the summer to complete and return surveys. If you haven’t received a survey but would like to fill one out, please notify Eugenia Shafer via email.

VI. Network Concept
The concept of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future is to provide a forum for business and professional women to congregate, reflect and act on the converging issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Through meetings and simple electronic support tools, the Network aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices on these vital workplace issues. By creating a new network of executive women, the Network seeks to: improve responsible practices in workplaces; sensitize corporate culture more generally to issues of sustainability and social responsibility; and encourage a public commitment locally, nationally and internationally to sustainability principles.

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future is a 501c3 organization.
For more information, please contact: Ann Goodman
Co-Founder, Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future

Fiscal Agent: National Environmental Education & Training Foundation
1707 H Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20006 T: 202-833-2933
WNSF Board Member/NEETF Liaison: Deborah Sliter, Vice President of Programs

Board of Directors: Linda Descano, COO, Women & Co., CitiGroup; Muni Figueres, formerly of the Costa Rican Foundation for Sustainable Development; Joanne Fox-Przeworski, Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Bard College; Ann Goodman, President, Telesis Consulting; Clair Krizov, Executive Director of Environmental and Social Responsibility, AT&T; Joyce LaValle, Senior Vice President, Interface Inc.; Kathy Robb, Esq., Partner and Head of Environmental Practice, Hunton & Williams; Deborah Sliter, Vice President of Programs, National Environmental Education & Training Foundation.

This issue of Net Notes from the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future was produced by Ann Goodman, with contributions from Nancy McGaw of the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program and Marc Kaplan of Kaplan Communications.

The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future gratefully acknowledges Founding Sponsor AT&T for its generous seed grant.

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.” – Stewart L. Udall

“Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.”- Lewis Mumford

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