Dr Janina Steinmetz believes that an inclusive climate benefits both men and women. She is on a mission to drive positive change as the newly appointed Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Programme (GWLP) at The Business School (formerly Cass).
A multidisciplinary researcher
A trained experimental social psychologist, Dr Steinmetz began researching the impact of gender stereotypes while writing her doctoral thesis. She was awarded her PhD in 2014 from the University of Cologne. She said: “My research found that when we have professional information – such as a woman being a manager or a man being a nurse – this information overrides gender stereotypes about men and women in the workplace. In the absence of professional information, gender stereotypes come into full force.”
Between 2014 and 2016, she developed her niche as a researcher by applying the fundamentals of psychology to economic decision-making in her postdoctoral appointment at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Later promoted to Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, she lectured on gender diversity on boards among many other topics.
Dr Steinmetz joined the Business School in 2018 as a Senior Lecturer in Marketing. Today, her research programme is focused on study consumer motivations. In a gender-focused side-project, she is uncovering the differences between letters of recommendations for men and women.
The Global Women’s Leadership Programme
The Global Women’s Leadership Programme seeks to inspire, equip and connect women leaders. The programme regularly hosts high-profile panel events to illustrate how organisations can support women in leadership, organises workshops for women to develop their leadership skills, and coordinates scholarships for women at all levels of study.
Dr Steinmetz was drawn to the programme due to its holistic approach to empowering future female leaders.
The programme is inspiring because it offers support to women at different stages of their careers.
She said: "The scholarships support women who are often pursuing careers in male-dominated industries and need networking opportunities. The skills workshops benefit women at a juncture in their career. The panels broaden everyone’s horizon on issues specific to women in the workplace.”
Intersectionality and the future of the Programme
Looking forward to the future of the programme, Dr Steinmetz wants to move the conversation towards intersectionality. This focus aligns with the Business School’s renewed commitment to equality and diversity, as signalled by its internal restructuring and renaming to Bayes Business School in September 2021. The Global Women’s Leadership Programme recently welcomed its first three male Executive Board Members and recently hosted the panel ‘Men supporting women’ on male allyship.
We often think of diversity and inclusion as benefitting women and minorities, but, in reality, it benefits everyone. Breaking free of current norms open up new possibilities of how to perform well in the workplace and what can be considered professional.
She said: “Through the pandemic, we have seen new leadership trends in the workplace. Leadership is moving away from a traditional top-down approach towards a more agile model in which decision-making is shared between teams and their managers. This trend can benefit all people who do not fit into archaic stereotypes of what a leader looks like.”
Find out more about the Global Women’s Leadership Programme.
Byline: Eve Lacroix, Marketing Executive and Global Women's Leadership Programme Executive Board Member, The Business School (formerly Cass).