The American dream is built on the notion that the U.S. is a meritocracy. Americans believe success in life and business can be earned by anyone willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve it, or so they say.
Thus, Americans commonly believe that those who are successful deserve to be so and those who aren’t are equally deserving of their fate – despite growing evidence that widening inequalities in income, wealth, laborand genderplay a major role in who makes it and who doesn’t.
And this very fact – that Americans believe their society is a meritocracy – is the biggest threat to equality, particularly when it comes to gender, as research by myself and others shows.
UMass Boston was honored to host distinguished guest speaker Prof. Cynthia Enloe (Clark University) during the lunch session of the AIBNE Frontier Conference on October 23, 2015. Prof. Enloe is one of the most prominent and distinguished scholars in the world to study the complex intersections of feminism, women, the military, war, politics and the international economy.
After being introduced by Prof. David Levy (UMass Boston College of Management), Prof. Enloe spoke about how she spent a lot of time thinking about the field of militarism and the processes of militarization, the processes by which anything and anybody can be infused with militaristic ideas and depends for their well-being on militarization. These processes can occur at the macro-level and micro-level, from daily life to public policy. Her talk, she said, would be about the militarization of business, a process that happens in several different ways.
A panel on Gender, International Development and Management was hosted on October 23 at UMass Boston as part of the Academy of International Business US-Northeast conference, including panelists Banu Ozkazanc-Pan (UMass Boston College of Management), Kade Finoff (UMass Boston College of Liberal Arts, Economics Department), Cynthia Enloe (Clark University, Worcester) and Deborah Jones (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) with Alessia Contu (UMass Boston College of Management) as the moderator.
The discussion began with Alessia Contu noting that any conversation about gender lands up with an all-female panel, and stating that it is important how scholars teach gender to their students. Some excerpts follow:
(Question)Alessia Contu: What does it mean to think about gender seriously in political economy?
Banu Ozkazanc-Pan : Gender is the complex interaction between biological sex, identity and perception of gender role/gender expression. It’s not just about women! “Genderblind” does not relate to gender-neutral outcomes. It’s like when students conduct a SWOT analysis of a company, there are assumptions being made about gender in business all the time. Who’s going to benefit from a cost-effective workforce? What are the real gender consequences of those decisions? What we research, practice and teach about international management needs to include all those. Continue reading →
Harvard Business School (HBS) Dean Nitin Nohria apparently made an “extraordinary public apology” at a glitzy ballroom in San Francisco for HBS’s bad behavior towards women as outlined September 2013 New York Times article “Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity.” Nohria’s goal of doubling the percentage of women who appear as protagonists in Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) cases in the next five years is lackluster if not meaningless.
Apparently HBP cases account for 80% of cases studied in business schools globally. The last time I checked the online case database included 10,148 (December 2013) HBS/HBP cases. (Note: HBP also disseminates cases from similar collections such as Darden and Ivey.) Without a doubt, HBP/HBS is the thought leader and standard bearer in what I call mainstream graduate management education (MGME).