Highlights from the 2011 Women’s Power Summit

I am thrilled to be blogging this week from the UT Center for Women in Law's 2011 Women's Power Summit on Law & Leadership. The programming is top notch and the company is rarefied. Today kicked off with a panel on the academic research on gende bias. Here were the highlights for me:

Joan Williams (of PAR co-founding fame) talking about how the criteria for advancement change on the basis of gender so that women are judged by what they have already achieved while men are assessed on the basis of their potential.

Robin Ely (HBS) sharing her observations of a group of highly-enlightened oil rig operators who traded in their machismo and got in touch with their feminine sides for the sake of their company's intrinsic goals of achieving better safety and productivity. Of course this begs the question, how do we set internal goals for law firms to incentivize the same transformation? Or as Professor Ely more eloquently put it: What goals extricate you from the culture of gender bias?

Christine Williams, chair of the Sociology Department here at UT making the case for tempered radicals, women who work within the establishment to change the status quo.

Stay tuned: tomorrow I get into it with Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer and we hear from some seriously powerful women about how they're making waves in their respective institutions.

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