THE BLOG
08/21/2014 05:00 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2014

The New Way Ahead for Women at Work: Don't Be a 'Queen Bee'

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Photo credit: nutmeg66 via Flickr

By Sallie Krawcheck

I've worked with some terrific women during my career. But I've also been "Queen Bee'd," 1 and it was one of the great surprises of my professional life. A senior woman told me she would advise me in navigating a tricky professional situation... but I began to receive different vibes through the grapevine... and in hindsight the guidance she gave me was "off" (which is the very, very kindest interpretation I can muster).

There are hypotheses as to why Queen Bees have existed. The one that has felt closest to the mark was a recent University of Colorado study that showed that women and people of color who advocate for women and people of color, respectively, in their companies have historically been penalized for it. So being a Queen Bee may have simply been smart career management.

But the days of the Queen Bee are ending. And that's great news.

It's great news because business does not have to be a zero-sum game, resulting in "winners" and "losers." The economic pie can grow by further engaging women in business. And, if the reams of research are right, business performance can improve across a range of metrics by bringing more diverse perspectives and thinking to the table.

And the reign of the Queen Bee is ending because people like Anne-Marie Slaughter, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, and Deb Spar, to name a few, have turned up the volume on the topic of the advancement of women. They are each enormously accomplished and have leveraged their credibility to advance the discussion around women in business. Their advocacy has been a powerful form of leading by example.

It's also changing because women at large are increasingly rejecting the old paradigm. I see this every single day in Ellevate Network (the professional women's network I invested in last year, formerly called 85 Broads); it is demonstrated in its rapid growth and that of other women's networks. Of course, women join these networks because they want to advance their own careers; but in doing so, they implicitly recognize that they advance through the by-definition-collaborative-give-and-take of networking. In fact, research points to networking as the number 1 "unwritten rule of success" in business.

The implicit is also explicit: the majority of the members of Ellevate Network tell us that they want to invest in other women. They want to invest their time (2/3s say this is important, with 43 percent already mentoring other women). And they want to invest their money; according to the Center for Talent Innovation, some 77 percent of women globally say they want to invest in companies with diverse leadership teams.

Following this lead (as well as because of the research that shows that diversity is associated with improved corporate performance), we have launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund (ticker: PXWEX), which is a mutual fund that invests in the top-rated companies in the world in advancing women's leadership. In my estimation, the trend of women looking to invest in companies -- and work for companies and buy from companies -- that are aligned with their values is an important and far-reaching one, representing a break from the past. And it has the potential to get the attention of companies, and change how they do business, in ways that the Queen Bee never could.

The days of just one seat at the executive table for the female are over. Queen Bee, you had your run. Rest in peace.

1) From Wikipedia: In a business environment, a "queen bee" may .... refer to a woman in upper management who advanced in the ranks without the help of any type of affirmative action programs..... They often see other, usually younger, women as competitors and will refuse to help them advance within a company, preferring to mentor a male over a female employee.

Sallie Krawcheck is the Chair of Ellevate Network and Ellevate Asset Management.Ellevate Network (formerly 85 Broads) is a professional woman's network, operating across industries and around the world. Ellevate Asset Management is a partner with Pax World Management in the management of the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund (ticker: PXWEX).

YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A FUND'S INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, RISKS AND CHARGES AND EXPENSES CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING. FOR THIS AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION, PLEASE OBTAIN A FUND PROSPECTUS BY CALLING 800.767.1729 OR VISITING WWW.PAXWORLD.COM. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

RISKS: Investment in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal invested. You could lose money on your investment in the Fund or the Fund could underperform because of the following risks: the market prices of stocks held by the Fund may fall; individual investments of the Fund may not perform as expected; the Fund's portfolio management practices may not achieve the desired result. The Fund does not attempt to outperform the Index or take defensive positions in declining markets. Accordingly, the Fund's performance would likely be adversely affected by a decline in the Index. Funds focusing on small/medium companies generally experience greater price volatility. Investments in emerging markets and non-U.S. securities are generally less liquid and less efficient than investments in developed markets and are subject to additional risks, such as risks of adverse governmental regulation, intervention and political developments. As this Fund can have a high concentration in some issuers the Fund can be adversely impacted by changes affecting issuers. There is no guarantee that the objective will be met and diversification does not eliminate risk.

Effective June 4, 2014, the Pax World Global Women's Equality Fund was reorganized into the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund.

Fund Objective: The Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund seeks investment returns that closely correspond to or exceed the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Pax Global Women's Leadership Index*, while maintaining risk characteristics that Pax Ellevate Management LLC believes are generally similar to those of the Index.

*A custom index calculated by MSCI. One cannot invest directly in an index.

Distributor: ALPS Distributors, Inc., Member: FINRA. ALPS is not affiliated with Ellevate Network or Ellevate Asset Management.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

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