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And the winner is… a man, again!

Thu 04 February 2010

, Alberta Opoku, Leap

CEO of the year, entrepreneur of the year, financial director of the year, architect of the year. And the list goes on and on. Surprisingly, very few of these prizes goes to women. 

Do men race harder than women? Do they work harder? Or are women just not that much into winning awards? Whatever the answer, the fact is, women perform equally well and sometimes even better than men.
In their opinion article, Claartje Vinkenburg from the Free University in Amsterdam and Marloes van Engen from Tilburg Universty, say: “…Both scientific as well as applied international and national research show that women are equally good leaders and sometimes even better than men. Various meta-analyses, that statistically synthesise research on the subject, show little gender difference in leadership. The differences that are found, illustrate that women portray more effective leadership behaviour and that they are more participative and thus more effective decision makers than men.”

Historic win

Yet the men take home almost all of the business awards intended to praise male and female excellence, writes Whether it’s Business Week’s Person of the Year, CNBC Europe’s European Business Leader of the Year Award or, closer to home, Financial Director of the Year; the winner is practically always a man. The only prizes that women always win are the ones intended for women only. 

That isn’t to say that women never win male/female prizes. In 2008 Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy wrote history by winning Chief Executive magazine’s CEO of the Year award. This was the first time in the award’s then 23-year existence that a woman had won! Ellen Soeters of the National Healthcare and Environment Institute (RIVM) was awarded Facility Manager of the Year 2009-2010. Linda de Mol won the Broadcaster of the Year 2009. And Claudia Willems last year won Ernst & Young’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.