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The Female Vision

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The Female Vision

Women's Real Power at Work


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

What women notice at work matters.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Workplace experts Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson draw on their research into male and female perceptions of job satisfaction to show organizations how to understand and benefit from “the female vision.” They identify a major leadership issue in companies’ failure to recognize, value or understand women’s workplace contributions. Their research finds that meaningful work and strong relationships motivate women more than financial compensation. Women also recognize the consequences of sacrificing long-term goals for short-term profits. The third chapter, which discusses the 2008 financial crisis, provides a great example of the dangers of the typical (read, male) narrow, one-sided vision. To create a setting where women can thrive, leaders should embrace empathy, and value both qualitative and quantitative knowledge. The authors make a compelling case for why managers should care about the lack of women in high-level positions and explain what companies can do about it. getAbstract recommends this book to executives who care about their company’s strategy and leadership, and want to tap into the female vision.


“The Female Vision”

How men and women observe their workplaces and how they prioritize issues shapes their vision. Women experience difficulty trying to express that vision because it may not align with corporate culture. Women often do not feel as engaged as men because their bosses don’t recognize, value or understand their perceptions. Dr. Mary O’Malley, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who works with female executives, says women may have a hard time defending their vision if their workplace leaders are not accustomed to handling subjective observations. Women learn to suppress their insights and eventually leave uncomprehending leaders to work elsewhere.

Men and women have similar skills. Men tend to focus on a specific task or area, while women focus on a broader spectrum. The concentration males bring to a subject supports their tendencies toward rigorous analysis; females’ wider observational skills support their ability to find connections and understand context. “Broad-spectrum notice” can appear subjective, but focused notice can exclude information.

Why the Female Vision Matters

Organizations gain new ideas and perspectives when they value...

About the Authors

Sally Helgesen is the author of The Female Advantage and The Web of Inclusion. She has also written for The New York Times, BusinessWeek and Fortune. Leadership coach Julie Johnson is a former executive with Merrill Lynch, General Foods and Stanford Law School.

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