Feminine gamification viewpoint: What will it take?

Feminine gamification viewpoint: What will it take?

I often wonder what it will take to make women equal partners in work, life, leadership, etc. even if we come with generally speaking slightly different skill sets. Yesterday I read yet another news item about a lady having to leave social media, her house etc due to death threats based on being outspoken about gender inequality in her area. It seems that in traditionally male dominated fields this is deemed to be acceptable rhetoric?! I guess you would only have to look at the US presidential race to see this playing out at one of the worst levels ever, but let’s not stoop that low.

I always look for research when I have a hunch that something is not quite equal either to validate or reject my original feelings. Pew Research in the US did extensive research about the perceptions of men and women in c-suite leadership positions. Here are some of the key findings from the research:

“The vast majority of people (80%) say that men and women make equally good business leaders, but many feel businesses are not ready to hire women for top executive positions. Men and women agree that both genders are equally capable of leading in the business world.

Looking at some of the specific attributes required to be successful in business, again, the public sees relatively few differences between men and women. Strong majorities say there is no difference between men and women when it comes to being an effective spokesperson for their company (77% see no difference) and negotiating profitable deals (73%). And solid majorities see no difference between men and women on providing guidance or mentorship to young employees (66%), providing fair pay and good benefits (64%), being honest and ethical (64%) and being willing to take risks (58%).

Among those who do draw distinctions between men and women on these leadership attributes, some clear gender patterns emerge. About three-in-ten adults (31%) say women in top executive positions are more honest and ethical than men; only 3% say men are better in this regard. Similarly, 30% say women do a better job at providing fair pay and good benefits, while 5% say the same about men. Women are also perceived to have an advantage in providing guidance or mentorship to young employees: 25% say women are better at this, while 7% say men are better.


The largest gap in favor of men is on the willingness to take risks. Some 34% of the public says men in top executive positions are better at this than women; only 5% say women are better than men. Men are also seen as having an edge in negotiating profitable deals. About one-in-five adults (18%) say men in top business positions are better at this than women, while 7% say women are better at this.

Neither men nor women are seen as having a clear advantage in serving as spokespeople for their companies: 9% say men are better at this, 12% say women are better and 77% see no difference between the two.

Views about men and women and their effectiveness in certain aspects of business leadership differ somewhat by gender. Women are more likely than men to say that female leaders are more honest and ethical than their male counterparts (35% of women say this, vs. 27% of men). Similarly, more women than men say that female business leaders are better at providing fair pay and good benefits (34% vs. 24%) and providing guidance or mentorship to young employees (28% vs. 21%).

Men are more likely than women to say that male leaders in business are more willing to take risks (37% of men say this, compared with 31% of women). In addition, men are more likely than women to say there is no gender difference when it comes to being honest and ethical and providing fair pay and good benefits.”

Considering that the vast majority of people think that both gender are equally good in leadership with marginal differences in most areas, my question really is what will it take to redraft the balance in real appointments?

Always followed by the question can we design the structures in such a way that where there is perception of a better skill based on gender that that gender is pulled in for input at the very minimum. I would love to come up with a system that alerts you when the decision making was too skewed for one gender and any other discriminative factor for that matter really.

I also often wonder if I could make a game where the power was completely skewed in a matriarchal sense and women were the main leaders, what traits would they have and how would it affect men in the game.

For now I just wonder what it will take to make the balance more even?

Feminine gamification viewpoint: sports develops leaders

Feminine gamification viewpoint: sports develops leaders

Consulting firm Ernst & Young together with espnW published research about the effect of competitive sports on the careers of women. The research states that being a competitive athlete prepares women for leadership positions, boosts earning potential and career development opportunities.

Sports can help girls grow up feeling more confident and healthier, it gives them a greater sense of economic mobility, decreases the likelihood of them taking drugs, makes them less concerned about personal safety and also has a positive effect on school performance.

Executive women with a background in sports are 74% more likely to build strong teams, to motivate others and to see projects through to their completion. 94% of c-suite women played competitive sports.

Whilst the research mainly focused on the USA, it is interesting to see how an element of competition prepares us for much more. I grew up with sports as part of our family, both my parents played sports, so there was never any question when me and my sister also did.

In more ways than one it has always stood to me and now in gamification design, I draw a lot from the sports I play and played and the ones I just watch.

How has sports influenced your gamification efforts and your career?

Feminine gamification viewpoint: trade offs

Feminine gamification viewpoint: trade offs

This week Harvard Business Review published an article on gender differences in leadership positions, which caught my attention. The authors carried out research, which looked at how women and men decide on whether to go for a higher role or not. One finding based on 630 recent MBA graduates, questioned them where their current position was on a ladder of professional achievement and then how far they felt they could go and also what their ideal role was. The image below shows the outcome of these questions.



The study concluded that women chose ideal roles that were less high on the professional ladder, because they had a perceived time constraint in which they felt they had to achieve all their life goals. The trade offs for taking a higher position were a lot more significant in swaying women to aim lower than they could potentially achieve.

I thought it was interesting to read about the time pressure for life goals and I have to say culture and society probably plays an interesting role yet again. When a women is in her 30’s and single, the regular question in business tends to be when is she getting married or in a relationship, shortly followed by the children question. For some reason people think it is normal to ask a woman these questions, for a man none of this is questioned to the same extent nor would either rule out career progression, whereas working with children is often a big question mark over the ladies’ career. I guess from a natural perspective there is a time frame to being able to have children, so in that regard if it is a life goal, then the pressure is on and usually it comes with the need to have a partner even if technology is far enough to have children without partners.

In my previous work as a business coach, having multiple life goals often lead to stressed out individuals. For my female clients the ranking of goals was always “that depends”, whereas for the male clients it seemed more clear-cut and singular. Maybe again that is how the brain works for either gender respectively. But how we define success and achievement always struck me as being rather different. Saying that I would have classed some women in the same category as men being career seekers and some men in the group of family heroes.

What I typically did though and this is where I used gamification elements to come to decisions, was to monitor behaviour based on actual time spend, then compare it to life goals and have the client decide if they were aligned. Often this was the major wake-up call when they realised either they needed to revise behaviour or in some cases life goals, maybe the things they really wanted they hadn’t been honest about even to themselves, yet their behaviour showed them the obvious truth. In order to break the behavioural habit (if that was their choice), the first step was always habit re-design with small measurable steps to get into a new pattern. Regular reporting and regular feedback to me was built in to the programme with praise or questions depending on the outcome. It was a fun game, when in some cases the family man agreed to have me ring them at 5.30 pm to see if they were on the way home and how some of the true achievers would ring me at 5pm to say I am indeed heading out or the ones that ignored my call because they were working hard still on a ‘major’ project. Either way the truth always came out.

So the question to solve the original gender differences in leadership in my view comes back to is there a business model and structure that allows women to experience all the life goals they want (and men too obviously) if the current structure is clearly not ideal? Secondly we can always play the life goal ranking and behaviour game, to achieve what we want.

What would you suggest to make the balance in leadership more equal?


Feminine gamification viewpoint: measuring leadership

Feminine gamification viewpoint: measuring leadership

In a recent article in Harvard Business Review by Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, titled “To hold women back, keep treating them like men.” Avivah explains that all managers in organisations recognise men and women are different, yet in most organisations measurement of female leadership traits isn’t brought in to balance the equilibrium. Both men and women have feminine and masculine leadership traits, so measuring both will also benefit both.

Gamification is often used to track and measure performance and give feedback. I can think of measures such as levels of displayed empathy, perception of power and influence, connectedness in social networks, and impact consequences to name a few. Encouraging both gender to learn about these traits and how they may even be displayed marginally differently by each is a starting point. Measuring competency in each of them a second step.

The challenge with measuring these often softer and subtle skills is to find displayed evidence of them in practise. It will take creativity and open minded listening to discover them especially when an organisation is still learning about these, but the impact may then be that women will also feel they can rise to the top in a feminine way rather than having to become one of the boys.

How would you gamify feminine leadership traits?

Feminine gamification viewpoint: Female leadership more engaging

Feminine gamification viewpoint: Female leadership more engaging

I blogged about this before under this theme that ladies make 70% of all consumer purchasing decisions. Now put that into perspective, the female consumer market is worth £12.45 trillion ($20 trillion) … any percentage of this I guess would be worthwhile involving ladies in your design and testing of your engagement strategies for?

The Gallup organisation takes it even a step further, they research workplace engagement on a regular basis and they found that female leaders are more engaging than their male counterparts. Yet in most European countries the representation of women at leadership levels in organisations as well as government is limited.

We know women process information differently to men, shop and make decisions differently, yet most projects are led by men including those aimed at persuading women. Gallups’ advice is to let women lead, get them talking, engage them and they will automatically engage others. This approach would work in leadership for the retention of talent, but equally in design and gamification projects.

Statistics about female leaders


What have you experienced in terms of leadership, gender and engagement?

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