We Did It!!! We Did It! was the front page of The New Economist, first week of January 2010.

"During the second world war, when America’s menfolk were off at the
front, the government had to summon up the image of Rosie the Riveter,
with her flexed muscle and “We Can Do It” slogan, to encourage women
into the workforce. Today women are marching into the workplace in ever
larger numbers and taking a sledgehammer to the remaining glass
ceilings." The New Economist.

Ok, but what about power and leadership? Cherchez la femme!

The first thing that came to my mind was the article from The Harvard Business Review, December 2009 and the discussion that followed Women CEOs.Why so few? (referred to it in a previous post about Meg Whitman)

As I began writing my series on Women Speakers, I started collecting stories, data and examples of charismatic women leaders.

There are two examples of places, other than business, where Women Leaders could be but are still invisible or in minority.

  • In Cooking, as Women Chefs
  • In Music, as Women Conductors

I found it intriguing that around the same time, end of 2009, beginning of 2010, so many articles made the headlines with "Where are the Women Chefs? "I decided to look for them, and guess what, I found plenty!

Where? In France, of course, more precisely in Lyon! (it's a very "etnocentric" approach, I admit, but it will give you the opportunity to learn about French Women!)

  • In Cooking, as Women Chefs

Food for Thought: Who are The Top Women Chefs? -The Huffington Post November 2009.In this article, you will discover why so few women reach and stay at the Top.

My 3 conclusions :

It's still a man's world, and even a very "macho" one

Very few men deal well with the fact of being married to a Chef

Women have to chose between their restaurant and their private life

 Let me introduce you to some of my home town 's history. The role of women in French gastronomy (as well as in all the cultures around the world!) is huge and most of the time restricted to the home kitchen. When you enter a **** restaurant, you expect to see a male Chef wearing the Toque!

With les "Mères Lyonnaises", it's another story.

ladies were originally house cooks for Lyon’s rich and affluent
families, however during the second half of the 19th century they began
to pursue their own ventures and set up their own businesses.

filling tables at Compagnons du Tour de France, they demonstrated to
all how to make cooking simple and subtle, with dishes such as “la
poularde en vessie” or “les cardons à la moelle”…

 From 1921, Eugénie Brazier,MereFrazier the mère Brazier, began to cater to
gastronomes and ambassadors such as General de Gaulle and Mayor Edouard
Herriot became fans of her cooking.

Paul Bocuse, a world renowned chef from Lyon, began his career at her stoves.

Other famous Mères lyonnaises include la mère Blanc, la mère Fillioux, la mère Poupon, la mère Léa, la grande Marcelle.

("mère" means "mother"…)

Where is the progress in the Feminism today?

Here's a list of Women conductors , with some 300 names — but still
falling short of completeness. The source is the
Kapralova Society, a Canadian organization dedicated to promoting women
music: www.kapralova.org.

Let me now introduce you to Claire Gibault, (yes, I know, she's also linked to Lyon!):

Woman Chef in Lyon, first woman conductor and now a European MP.200px-Bayrou_Bercy_2007-04-18_n30

"Starting as chorus master of the Lyon Opéra, Gibault rose to staff conductor there as assistant to
John Eliot Gardiner
In 1995, she became the first woman to conduct the La Scala orchestra
on the occasion of the creation of the Opera "La Station Thermale" by
Fabio Vacchi and in 1997 she became the first woman ever to  conduct the musicians of the Berlin
Philharmonic Orchestra
with the Opera "Jacob Lenz" by Wolfgang Rihm."

I wanted to share these two examples with you, just like Lilian Thuram, former French football player, did with his book, "Mes Etoiles Noires" (My Black Stars, from Lucy to Obama), released in January 2010, not yet translated in English

These women are my Women Stars.

In a world where little girls grow up learning from history , science , philosophy, literature and arts books with a big majority of male role models, how can they grow into confident women and embrace leadership roles in their society?

How do I commit myself to promote women's leadership and boost their confidence?

  • I support The Hot Mommas project, I am Country manager for Europe.Collecting and sharing teachable role models for girls/women.

Learn and discover about this exciting and innovative project in one my blog post, where you can watch the Everyday Revolutionary Hot Mommas and see how YOU can contribute by nominating a Hot Momma!

  • I'm Vice President of The WPNG, a Professional Women's Networking Group in Lyon, for anglophone women, organizing  conferences and promoting women speakers
  • Whenever I can, I help women boost their confidence and achieve their goals, while improving their presentation skills. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a woman, previously lacking confidence stand up and speak assertively!

How can you promote women around you, at the work place?

I'm waiting for your comments!

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