Friday, January 30, 2015

Racially Diverse Companies Outperform Industry Norms by 30%

by Ruchika Tulshyan
Originally Published: January 30th, 2015

New research reinforces the business case for diversity. How can organizations implement diversity initiatives that make a long-term impact?
If companies want to prosper and retain their business advantage, they would benefit from having a diverse workforce, new McKinsey research finds. Of 366 public companies analyzed, those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 30% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.
Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry peers.
While correlation does not equal causation – greater diversity doesn’t automatically mean more profit – the link indicates that companies committed to diverse leadership are more successful.
“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing return,” states the report.
The research also suggests that other types of diversity such as age, sexual orientation and global mindsets, are also likely to bring some level of competitive advantage for companies that are able to attract and retain diverse talent.  Currently 97% of U.S. companies fail to have senior leadership teams that reflect the country’s ethnic labor force.
Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 1.23.42 PMHow Do You Diversify Your Teams?

Diversity is a catchphrase that is, sometimes, more trendy than it is helpful. I’ve attended countless meetings, seminars, networking events all waxing lyrical about the importance of it. The world’s most innovative companies – Google GOOGL +4.96%Facebook and Apple, spend corporate dollars and branding towards promoting gender and racial diversity at their organizations. Yet, when it comes down to actual numbers, very few companies have a workforce that reflect our nation’s demographics. In fact, tech companies are notorious for the lack of ethnic and gender diversity.
But fostering a culture of inclusiveness starts at the top, says Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream. The Silicon Valley-based governance, risk and compliance firm raised $60 million from investors last fall, and a total of $125 million since its inception in 1999.
Archambeau, who sits on Verizon’s Board of Directors, is also the first African American female CEO of a Kleiner Perkins venture-backed company.

MetricStream’s chairman Gunjan Sinha is of Indian descent, and the company’s U.S. workforce is now over 56% non-white. But diversity at the company has been a long and focused effort. Archambeau advises companies against investing in blanket diversity initiatives that end up being more like bandaids than fostering a cultural change. Here are three that impacted representation at MetricStream.
Set Targets not Quotas
For diversity to make a business impact, representation must show at the top, says Archambeau.
Archambeau says more companies should be aware of the types of candidates they hire at every level, but especially for leadership roles. “It’s worth asking ‘are we looking at women candidates when screening for the top positions. Are we looking at racially diverse candidates?’”
Organizations often don’t reflect on where their talent pool is being drawn from. “Even asking these questions tend to drive our overall behavior,” she says.

Instead of quotas, she suggests setting targets. “I really don’t like quotas. Targets at every level ensure you have focused activities to execute on an overall objective,” she says. Forcing a quota on an organization doesn’t always ensure you have the best person for every role.
Reach Beyond Traditional Networks
Most people are likely to have people who look like them, in their immediate networks.  Archambeau says modern workplaces must encourage hiring managers and HR support functions to start looking beyond their traditional networks when creating the talent pipeline. “Recognize and reward managers that are creating diverse teams,” she adds.
It’s a missed business opportunity if your clients and consumers are of different backgrounds and genders, but your team is homogenous. “Diversity really helps teams thrive. Even an all-female team of the same ethnicity is not as successful as a mixed team.”
Start Now and Don’t Give Up
It’s daunting to change numbers at larger organizations that have a certain demographic entrenched within their organization. But even if it takes time to make a change, the business case for diversity is too strong to ignore.
“Even if you start today, it really takes a while for numbers to come through.” Don’t let that deter you. “Diversity is not just a short-term, one-act solution,” says Archambeau. It takes longer commitment and an ability to quickly pivot if certain initiatives are not changing the ratio.
“What you’re really doing is changing behavior in the talent pool and organization structure, and to make a dent in that number, it takes time,” she concludes.

Read the original article from Forbes here:

Can Blind Auditions Change the Ratio of Women in Tech Journalism?

by Lisa Abeyta
Originally Published: January 30th, 2015

I am a huge fan of The Voice, especially the early episodes when a celebrity judge chooses a contestant based on talent and then discovers the person on stage looks nothing like what they expected. Sometimes the contestant isn't even the same gender. So it was with great interest that I read a post by Dylan Tweney, the Editor-in-Chief at VentureBeat announcing Blind Auditions for his publication. He first noted the results of a study in which more women were added to top orchestras when blind auditions were instituted. Tweney went on to say that VentureBeat was implementing a similar approach for hiring new tech journalists. Based in the center of the Silicon Valley tech startup scene, VentureBeat's new leader is hoping that his new approach will lead to more women journalists covering tech, but even he admits that only time will tell.
I am heartened by Twenty's public commitment to finding ways to change the ratio of women tech journalists, if only at his publication. My first interaction with VentureBeat came when I was invited to pitch my brand new startup, APPCityLife, at the company's first mobile event, MobileBeat 2010. Twenty startups were selected from the applications, and of those twenty startups, I was the only female involved. Among the rest of the teams, the judges, even the staff from VentureBeat -- I was the only female to be found on stage.
I learned two very important lessons at that event. The first was that if I was to be successful as a female tech founder, I would have to be more resilient, more persistent -- and willing to create an independent voice for our company, because I couldn't count on coverage by the press if I was in such a minority. That realization created a sense of urgency for me, and over time, I've learned that having that kind of fire to your back gives you an edge. Sure, it's higher stress, but it also is a great motivator. The second thing I learned is that being a woman in a male-dominated field has its advantages. When you're in a field where women are scarce, I've found that some -- definitely not all -- women gravitate to you, want to create alliances and find ways to do business to help even up the playing field a little bit. Women also have the advantage of approaching their industry through a different filter than most of her competition, and the results are sometimes innovative solutions that meet a need in the marketplace in a very different way, setting her company apart from the competition. Female founders also have the ability to lead differently. I certainly found this to be the case for me. I was a mom tasked with raising toddlers before I became a CEO tasked with leading a team, and my years as a mother definitely shaped me into a different kind of tech founder. I'd like to think it's for the better.
And, thus, I find it encouraging that one of today's leading online tech and venture publications is taking a new approach to hiring that may possibly more women writing about tech and venture capital in the publishing industry today. I am hoping the results are promising, because I believe if the final outcome is more women on the VentureBeat staff, it may become a catalyst for changing hiring practices at other publications as well. I believe with more women journalists contributing, we could find more women founders getting a fair shot at coverage in the media. We'll likely find that the topics covered change as well, since women journalists usually have different experiences which lead to different reference points and even interests when approaching the same story as a male colleague. I think it will even lead to different water cooler conversations and debates among the staff which may reveal biases and provide an opportunity for growth.
The changes at VentureBeat are an exciting first step in the right direction. Whatever the outcome, I'm hoping this isn't the last thing VentureBeat or other publishers try. While print may reach far smaller circulations today than ever expected, online journalism has the potential to capturing a world-wide audience. The written word holds the power to change perceptions, reveal biases and bad behavior, drive the conversation and, sometimes, change the future of those who manage to gain the attention and interest of journalists. I, for one, am rooting for more of those moments in the public eye to be about women doing great things -- not only for the sake of the women gaining coveted time in the public eye, but mostly for the barriers it will remove for younger generations.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here:

Women Can't Get Equal Pay in Finance No Matter What They Do

by Akani Octane & Jonathan Rodkin
Originally Published: January 29th, 2015

Women have yet to close the wage gap, even when they have similar jobs to their male counterparts. That's especially true on Wall Street. Last year, women who graduated from business school and took jobs in financial services earned an average of $21,872 less than male MBAs, according to data collected by Bloomberg Business. Drilling down into the numbers shows part of that discrepancy is explained by differences in the type of finance companies that hired women, but a gap persisted even when women worked in similar sub-sectors of finance as men. 
In a survey of 9,965 graduating MBAs, conducted for Bloomberg Businessweek's 2014 business school rankings, we found a pattern of compensation inequality that was particularly pointed in financial services. Of the 1,024 respondents who went into financial services, men not only dominated the most lucrative pockets of finance; they also went into the highest-paying industries more often than women. Nearly 49 percent of male MBAs entering finance went into commercial or investment banking, compared with 39.8 percent of female MBAs. The sectors of finance women went into at greater rates—including insurance, brokerage, and the pension fund industry—tended to pay less than the top industries for men. It's possible some women are put off from applying to some of the most lucrative Wall Street jobs because of the stereotypes surrounding them, says Matthew Bidwell, a management professor at the Wharton School. "When you think about the image of the investment banker, it's self-centered, it's money-oriented, and it's aggressive—particularly low on the kind of characteristics society thinks of as being appropriate for women."
Whatever reasons women have for not applying to, or getting offered, certain jobs, it should be safe to make one assumption: If Wall Street's pay gap exists only because of the different rates at which men and women pursue certain jobs within finance, we should see the disparity disappear when comparing men and women in the same sector.
It doesn't work that way.
While many Wall Street jobs gave women and men similar compensation packages, women in commercial or investment banking—the most popular post-MBA path within finance—reported making significantly less money than men. In our sample, 509 men and 98 women took jobs in banking. Women made an average of $11,114 less than their male peers, with the disparity increasing dramatically for the top earners. Consider this: The median compensation for the top quarter of male bankers was $190,000. Female bankers standing at the same comparison point made just $140,000.
"The wage gap starts from day one and grows, by all accounts, to hundreds of thousands of dollars by the end of their career," says Anna Beninger, director of research at Catalyst, a nonprofit that advocates women's advancement in the workforce. It's especially significant that the wage gap exists within a group with as much high potential and ambition as business school graduates, Beninger added. "It's really exponential. It's impacting women's abilities to care for themselves and have an equal voice in their families."
Were male bankers paid more because they were more experienced than their female peers? Data suggest that's not the reason. Forty-four percent of men with banking jobs were switching into the industry from another career path—about on a par with women, 47 percent of whom had no prior investment banking experience. The wage gap didn't disappear even when we controlled for how much men and women reported earning before attending business school. Regardless of prior income, women still made roughly $7,673 less than men. (Caveat: Our sample size was too small to let us reach a statistically significant result, although the same model applied to our broader analysisof business school graduates and was statistically significant.)

Beninger doesn't believe companies are necessarily sexist. "Women aren't being underpaid intentionally by these organizations," she says, "but unconscious biases can really filter into these issues that they need to root out from the get-go." That squares with what business schools and the financial firms that recruit from them have been saying—that they're trying, earnestly, to boost the representation of women in their ranks. These data suggest that hiring managers scrutinize their practices to make sure their push for equality extends to the packages they're offering. 

Read the original article from Bloomberg Business here:

Canada's parliament and its diversity problem

by Ashley Splawinski
Originally Published: January 30th, 2015

Canada is widely renowned for being a 'diverse mosaic'. However, a newly released study by Kai Chan concludes that Canada's current Conservative government and cabinet are not an accurate reflection of our population. 
Not surprised?
Perhaps it's time to contemplate the meaning of "multiculturalism" in all of its controversial glory.
Why are we just questioning this now?
The term 'diversity' can be used quite loosely. However, in Chan's study, it is defined through: geography, language, religion, age, gender, education, ethnicity and occupation. 

Chan, currently a policy advisor to the prime minster of the United Arab Emirates, stated that his motivation to study parliamentary representation was fueled by the escalating tension between Canada's Conservative government and its scientific community.
The relationship between policy and science has been outlined by the Canadian Science Writers' Association (CSWA) in a statement saying that, in the past, Canada's federal scientists were encouraged to publicly discuss their research. This changed when the Conservative government introduced media policies to control communication between scientists and the public.
The move to cut funding to scientific services and programs added to the scientific community's concern, resulting in a string of protests at Parliament Hill where demonstrators famously chanted, "What do we want? Evidence-based decision-making!"
When Chan witnessed this growing hostility he wondered how many MPs had an academic background in the sciences.
Delving into his study further, he expanded his research to include several other areas of interest -- like gender and ethnicity -- and also proposed policy recommendations to remedy the disparities in representation in Parliament.
The results, they are surprising (maybe? No not really.)
When specifically studying the proportion of those with higher education by political affiliation, Chan found that Conservative MPs have the lowest incidence of higher education with approximately 33 per cent of Conservatives in the Senate and House having no post-secondary education.
Liberals have the highest levels of education with the incidence of doctoral degrees at 17.5 per cent and law at 33.3 per cent. 

Delving deeper, Chan found that women accounted for only 27.6 per cent of the Senate and House. A stark imbalance, considering across Canada women account for 50.4 per cent of the population.
The Conservative Party had the least female representation at 21.8 per cent of its caucus. Liberals had slightly higher representation at 31.3 per cent. And, the NDP had the most females at 36.1 per cent. 

Upon viewing the study, Karina Gould, a Liberal candidate running in Burlington, recalled speaking to a grade 10 civics class and asking the class what comes to mind when they think of a politician.
"One brave young woman raised her hand and said, 'Not you, I think of an old man in a stuffy suit.' How can you blame her, when the majority of parliamentarians are older, white men?" stated Gould.

In a statement, Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East, acknowledged that parliament doesn't reflect the demographics of Canada. "It's been an old boys club (and white at that) from the beginning," said Davies.
Davies went on to point out, "The number of women is also slowly increasing -- but we need to do better. [Proportional representation] has been shown to be a significant factor to increase the participation of women and other underrepresented ‎groups."
Lack of diversity: It's systemic!
Chan also found that people of colour account for 12.3 per cent of MPs, while across Canada they account for 23.3 per cent of the population.
The NDP accounts for the most people of colour in its caucus (14.4 per cent) while the Liberals can account for slightly less (13.4 per cent). People of colour only make up 10.2 per cent of the Conservative caucus.
However, the Conservatives have a relatively strong representation in the South Asian community with seven MPs of South Asian descent. 
Chan suggests a possible factor for this is that traditional South Asian values tend to be more conservative (socially and fiscally). And, that it is possible "that some ridings are considered 'safe' for certain parties, while others may field a candidate with no chance of winning in a riding just so that the party can have a pan-national platform."
Therefore, while there is a bureaucratic component to this phenomenon, Gould notes that perhaps the issue is circular in itself. "Herein lies the problem [of lack of representation]," she went on to specify, "Many women and minorities do not see themselves as people who fit into the political class."
However, it must be noted that beyond lack of representation, the lack of diversity is systemic.
This is shown in multiple studies that span into areas such as employmentpositions of power (such as boards of directors) and economics, with results proving that if one is employed, on a board, or wealthy, by virtue of a combination of institutional privileges, that individual is overwhelmingly likely to be white and male (among other things, such as being able-bodied, cisgender, etc).

Chan's study also suggests that densely populated provinces are home to the majority of immigrants and people of colour with 52.4 per cent of immigrants and 46.7 per cent of people of colour living in Ontario alone. Chan suggests that the "under-allocation" of seats to Ontario in the House is a factor in the "missing" people of colour in parliament.
Chan also made an interesting finding with respect to age and representation. The national median age is 40.6 yet the average age of our parliament is 57. In the Senate it's 67.
Gould indicated that our governing party being older and male is likely to lead to skewed policies stating that, "One major policy that is indicative of a lack of a younger, female voice [in the governing party] is that of income-splitting. It's not a policy designed for my generation; it's reflective of those that sit in parliament: upper, middle class men who have a wife that stays at home with the children."
"A younger voice in parliament would probably take a stronger stance on issues that matter to younger Canadians: climate change, the environment, and yes, pensions, among others," she suggests.
Government for all!

For Canada to accurately reflect its population in its parliament, Chan suggests that we follow suit along with Belgium and Australia and implement mandatory voting.
However, some candidates, like Davies disagree.
"I don't see any evidence for that claim. Whereas for PR it's very clear," states Davies. She also notes that she feels it's critical that political parties do their part to encourage, support and seek out candidates to run who are from underrepresented groups.
(You can find a guide to political party nomination processes here.)
To see more diversity socially, economically and in our governance, we must address barriers that bar certain demographics from attaining positions and subsequently creating policies. 
A more diverse parliament would reflect the interests of all who reside in this country -- not just a select few. There are several incentives for us as a population to see an increase in diversification in our governing body.
Let's make it a priority in this year's federal election.

Read the original article from Rabble here:

Andy Murray Flying the Flag for Equality at the Australian Open

by Tim Clement
Originally Published: January 29th, 2015

Andy Murray's Australian Open final charge under the leadership of Amelie Mauresmo is breaking new ground in sport, proving that gender is not key to success.
The Scot raised plenty of eyebrows when he became the first leading male tennis player to appoint a female coach in June, before investing huge faith in the former women's No. 1 by parting ways with long-term hitting partner Daniel Vallverdu.
Murray was quick to downplay the significance of his former ally being in his opponent’s corner and emphasised his appreciation for Mauresmo after his semi-final 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory over Tomas Berdych.
As reported by The Guardian, he said:
A lot of people criticised me for working with her and I think so far this week, women can be very good coaches as well.
Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman – Lindsay Davenport. I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.
I’m very thankful for Amelie for doing it. It was, I would say, a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days.
It was an ideal litmus test for Murray’s new set-up, with Berdych heading into the affair leading 6-4 in their head-to-head, according to ATP stats, while the Czech was full of confidence after breaking a 17-match losing streak to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
In so many ways it was the perfect response, with Murray requiring the mental calm to cope with losing a tense first set, whilst finding the right tactics to neutralise the seventh seed's blaze of winners.
Indeed, according to Australian Open Slam Tracker stats, Murray actually ended the match with three more winners than his big-hitting opponent, despite producing six less in the first set.
The Scot’s performances at the season’s first Grand Slam have been a far cry from how he ended last season’s finale, crashing out of the ATP World Tour finals with a humiliating 6-0 6-1 defeat to Roger Federer.
That defeat fuelled further questions as to whether Mauresmo was the right person to lead the 27-year-old, with legend John McEnroe, who was touted as a potential candidate for the role, offering a balanced perspective.
"I would not call it a roaring success,” he said as reported by the Express. “That would be the simplest way of putting it.
“But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be given more time.”
The often outspoken Virginia Wade was less conducive to the idea following his quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon, as per The Daily Telegraph.
It’s hard to read him. Mauresmo was a total shock. I thought they were all fooling around.
I think again he’s maybe trying to mess with everybody. She was a great player, she’s a great person. I think she was a little fragile mentally because she had the capabilities of beating everybody.
She’s laid back; she’s a very nice, mature person. But I can’t work it out at all. You like to try to get behind people’s thinking but I can’t really with this one. You try to see what somebody’s going to offer that player.
Marinko Matosevic went a step further, as reported by the Daily Mail, saying: "For me, I couldn't (have a female coach) since I don’t think that highly of the women’s game.”
The world's No. 81 player did little to justify such concerns, going down in straight sets in their second-round meeting.
Murray seems to have thrived on the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, with a new challenge offered up after reaching his main career goals under former coach Ivan Lendl.
While filling the boots of the Czech legend was always going to prove a difficult task, Murray has found the formula for success to help him reach a first major final since Wimbledon 2013, albeit at the expense of Vallverdu.
While much was made of the match-up with the Venezuelan, as it was with the match-up with Mauresmo, Murray has shown great maturity in moving on from the Lendl break-up.
Consciously or not, the Scot has also has helped to give equality in the sport an invaluable boost, most crucially for making his decision based on character and experience over gender.
It was all the braver given the rare nature of tennis, where elite players are not only held accountable for their performances but for the people they appoint to help them.
If Murray can go on and win Sunday’s final then it will surely not just be his and Mauresmo’s reputation that will immeasurably improve but sport as a whole as a more equal entity.

Read the original article from Bleacher Report here:

HeForShe founder: social media will help to solve gender inequality

by Alex Hogg
Originally Published: January 29th, 2015

Countries around the world should use social media and better data to close the equality gap between men and women, according to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former deputy president of South Africa and head of UN Women, who launched the UN’s hugely successful HeForShe campaign – the latest phase of which was launched by actor Emma Watson at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in January 2015.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, who did a PhD in mobile technology after leaving office, said technology is integral to making the world a better place. “By the time I went to work at UN Women, I was very clear that technology was going to be part and parcel of what I’m going to use to reach out to both men and women in the world, for them to be part of trying to solve the problems,” she said. 
The HeForShe campaign aims to mobilise 1 million men and boys to support gender parity. “Even if you are already a male activist, it’s good to be part of that because then you could be a role model to other men,” said Mlambo-Ngcuka. “As a result of joining HeForShe, you hold yourself to an even higher standard.”
Speaking after taking part in a session on gender inequality in Davos, Mlambo-Ngcuka welcomed progress on gender parity, but expressed frustration about the speed of change, which was due in part to a lack of funding and status on the issue. “In all countries, the women ministry is the less funded and less prestigious ministry,” she said. “That does not assist those people who are deployed to work there, to do the kind of work that they’re supposed to do. It’s a huge mandate with a very small budget.”
But Mlambo-Ngcuka said there were some hopeful signs, including better data collection over the past 15 years, enabling campaigners to measure progress and see where there are gaps that still need closing. 
She believes leadership is vital in addressing gender parity. “I have been a minister. When the president wants it done, you know it and you get it done. You therefore do need this leadership and that is why it’s important when we talk about gender equality; not just to think about the women and the women’s movement as the only people with the responsibility,” she said. “It is a societal responsibility but more than anything else, leaders are there to protect citizens. Leaders are there to protect their people’s human rights. Women’s rights are human rights.”
She also agreed with co-panellists Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, and philanthropist Melinda Gates on the need to combat poverty by putting money into the hands of women.
“When women have economic means, which in many cases is also assisted by education, the children in those women’s lives become better. From generation to another, in the same family, you literally stop poverty,” she said. “One family at a time … one woman at a time we can actually, significantly decrease poverty, which is why it is important to make that distinction about investing in women in education, because it has that longevity that you actually see in society.”
Mlambo-Ngcuka also said it is now much easier to make this kind of targeted investment, as well as better education, through modern technology. She said culture was too often used as an excuse not to change practices that harm women and girls. “Culture is not invincible,” she said, adding that countries around the world, including South Africa, need to create ways for culture to be challenged and ensure there are consequences from harmful practices.
“The tolerance for crimes against women in South Africa and in many other countries in the world continues to be a problem. Once society reaches a point where there is violence against women – where there is a violation of rights – everybody rises up and we have zero-tolerance,” she said. “We definitely need to get our act together much better in South Africa. Pockets of government are working hard but there’s big room for us to improve.”

Read the original article from The Guardian here:

US Colleges Seek Economic Diversity in Students From China

by Michael Melia
Originally Published: January 29th, 2015

Widely regarded overseas as places only for children of the rich and powerful, top American universities like Yale and Harvard are increasing efforts to attract the best international students, regardless of their financial backgrounds.
With more undergraduates coming from abroad than ever, the Ivy League universities that have worked to overcome reputations for serving only children of the elite in the U.S. are trying to do the same the world over with travel, novel recruiting strategies and some help from the U.S. State Department.
Yale sophomore Yupei Guo, for one, does not fit the mold of the traditional Ivy Leaguer from China: Her journalist parents are neither wealthy nor members of the governing elite. Although university grants cover much of her tuition, many people she meets around New Haven assume she came from a much different background to reach the campus of Gothic buildings.
"I did get asked if I were some sort of distant royal family member, which I'm not," she said.
No country is receiving more attention than China, which sends far more students to the U.S. than any other country. Nearly 275,000 students came from China last year, 31 percent of all international students, according to the Institute of International Education.
As China has grown more prosperous, many U.S. colleges have stepped up recruiting there, seeking revenue-generating students who can pay their full way. A small number of schools pledge, like Yale, to meet the full financial need of admitted international students, and for them it is a matter of making that known around the country of 1.3 billion people.
A student-run organization at Harvard University holds college-style seminars annually for dozens of Chinese high school students, offering financial aid to help draw from all the country's provinces. At Yale, which in 1854 graduated the first Chinese person to earn a degree from a U.S. college, international students are deputized as "ambassadors" to talk with students while home on break. Admissions officers from both schools regularly travel to China.
Yale extended its need-blind admissions policy to international students in 2001, and Dean of Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said the makeup of students from China and other countries has since changed dramatically. International students have gone from representing 3 percent of the student body, mostly from high-income families, to 11 percent, with greater diversity.
"The diversity of our international student body has really exploded, frankly to a greater extent than our U.S. socio-economic diversity has over time," Quinlan said. He said most of the dozens of Chinese undergrads receive financial aid at Yale, where tuition, room and board cost nearly $60,000 a year.
Guo attended a selective public high school in Beijing and learned from upperclassmen the names of U.S. schools with need-blind admissions — Yale, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth and Amherst. She visited Yale during high school — on a U.S. visit for model United Nations — and felt energized by the posters advertising campus activities.
At home, her departure was met with a mix of admiration and scorn.
Yale is a celebrated name in China, where her acceptance prompted calls from reporters. But Guo said there is also a stigma that comes with attending college in the U.S., as though those leaving failed to fit into the Chinese system. And there is bitterness: Financial concerns prevent many of her friends from going to college at all.
Two Chinese real estate moguls, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, are prodding American universities to do more by giving them money to support low-income students from China. Through their SOHO China Foundation, they so far have awarded $15 million to Harvard and $10 million to Yale.
The admissions directors at Yale and Harvard say the gifts align with their goals of encouraging more Chinese students to apply. The universities say it's about promoting empathy and creating the diversity sought by students and faculty.
"We want to make sure that we get the most talented students from every corner of the world, and it's just that simple," Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons said.
Finding candidates outside China's elite circles is not easy. The affluent have access to the best schools — even more than in the United States — and admissions officers say many students assume they must have political connections.
There are also language and logistical hurdles: The SAT has limited availability in China and applicants must be fluent in English. Guo learned English as a child when her parents were posted in the United Kingdom by their Chinese newspaper for three years. For the SAT, she had to travel to Hong Kong.
To help address such difficulties, the State Department's EducationUSA program created a $1 million fund to provide aid for costs like application fees, said Evan Ryan, an assistant secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
"The State Department thought, 'Wait, we're really losing a whole population of the students that are important to the U.S. higher education system and important to our relationships around the world,'" Ryan said.
EducationUSA has eight advisers in Beijing and is sending four more — to Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang — to reach students beyond the capital.
The agency has been important to recruiting, Yale officials say, because it makes referrals knowing the school has the resources to cover students' need.
Guo said Yale did not cover her airfare to the U.S., but she has taken advantage of a hotel made available for international students unable to return home during breaks. With so many Chinese students traveling, she said flights are particularly expensive.
Despite some uncomfortable questions about her background, Guo said she does not feel out of place at Yale, where the Chinese students are increasingly diverse with several freshmen coming from inland cities.
"This place," she said, "is amazing."

Read the original article from ABC News here:

Documentary on transgender athletes tries to bridge the gender divide

by Scott Stinson
Originally Published: January 29th, 2015

You’re an enlightened person, yes? A supporter of equal opportunity for all regardless of race or gender, who agrees that being gay is no more a lifestyle choice than being tall, and fine with the fact that a kid can have two mommies or two daddies. OK with all that?
Good, let’s proceed. (If you answered “no” to the above, maybe skip the rest. There are plenty of other things to read around here.)
Now, imagine a scenario where a female athlete is said to have distinctly male characteristics. Competitors complain that’s she’s too fast or too strong. She’s a woman, but now questions are being raised. There is talk of chromosomes and testosterone levels. She has an unfair advantage, it is argued.
Would you agree?
Welcome to the transgender athlete, the next hill on the long road to equality in sport.
The subject of a new documentary, She Runs Like a Man, produced for HBO Canada’s Sports on Fire series, the term “transgender athlete” is itself far too narrow. Because while it can include those individuals who were born with sexual organs that did not match the gender with which they identify, sports officials have also found themselves trying, for example, to adjudicate cases where athletes have always been women but later ran afoul of chromosomal testing. Or they had high levels of testosterone. Or they had the strong features generally associated with a man. Over several decades, governing bodies such as the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF, track and field’s world governing organization, have changed policies repeatedly while trying to referee such cases. There were “certificates of femininity,” and then when some people didn’t like those, there were genital exams and other such invasive checks. Later, it became mandatory genetic testing for gender, which the IOC banned 15 years ago but still happens on a case-by-case basis.
HandoutSpanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez-Patino was disqualified from the World University Games in the 1980s after genetic testing found she had XY — male — chromosomes. She looked like a woman, and had female parts. Spanish officials stripped her of all her records.
The documentary presents the argument that the proper test for gender is no test at all.
Kristen Worley, a competitive cyclist who is herself transitioned — she uses that term instead of transgender — and who has worked on the cases of athletes such as South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, explains that the flaw with gender testing is that it seeks to put everyone in one of two boxes.
“We really have tried to simplify it in terms of sex, when in fact there are differences between XX [chromosomes] and XY,” she says in an interview. “It’s ridiculous.”
In the 1980s, a Spanish hurdler named Maria Jose Martinez-Patino was disqualified from the World University Games after genetic testing found she had XY — male — chromosomes. She looked like a woman, and had female parts. Spanish officials stripped her of all her records. Later, she was found to have an insensitivity to androgens like testosterone, which explained why she had developed, beginning in the womb, as a woman. There are a range of such conditions, which fall under the umbrella term “intersex.” The bottom line is that the gender binary doesn’t exist, and never did.
For Worley, who came up through cycling at a time when gender testing was a given, the barriers were significant.
“I was gender tested. I had to do psychological testing,” she says. “I had to sit in front of a panel and I had to tell them why I was relevant and why I should have the opportunity to compete in sport.” She had to hand over medical files, a gynecological history, everything. “They know nothing about me, and they sit in judgement of me and tell me whether I can compete,” she says.
What the issue comes down to, she argues, and it’s echoed by other experts in the documentary, is a double-standard that accepts all manner of exceptional genetic traits in high-performance athletes, but slams the door if a woman’s physiology lines up too closely with that of a man. Swimmers such as Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe had giant feet that propelled them like flippers. Lance Armstrong, prior to doping confessions, was celebrated for having a freakish circulatory system that gave him a particularly efficient motor. Bruno Caboclo, the 6-foot-9 rookie with the Toronto Raptors, has extraordinarily long arms that give him a 7-foot-6 wingspan. But no one wants to regulate foot size or arm length. Any elite athlete, especially at the highest levels of their sport, is likely to be a product of some degree of genetic gift. (Researchers have been busy trying to map things such as “speed genes,” which could eventually lead to the thorny situation where the degree to which an athlete is naturally gifted could be easily identified at a young age.) So, why single out certain women? It doesn’t escape notice of the advocates that gender questions are never raised about dominant female athletes who are sufficiently slender or curvy.
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Alex Goodlett/Getty ImagesWhat the issue comes down to, Kristen Worley argues, is a double-standard that accepts all manner of exceptional genetic traits in high-performance athletes, but slams the door if a woman’s physiology lines up too closely with that of a man. Bruno Caboclo, the 6-foot-9 rookie with the Toronto Raptors, has extraordinarily long arms that give him a 7-foot-6 wingspan. But no one wants to regulate foot size or arm length.
“As long as gender testing exists in sport, we will never see equality in sport,” Worley says.
The latest iteration of the IOC rules on gender don’t seek to establish an athlete’s sex, but rather test for elevated levels of androgens — the group of hormones that includes testosterone — that could be related to an intersex condition. An expert in She Runs Like a Man says at least four women underwent surgery after “failing” such a test, in order to keep competing.
But even that smacks of that same double-standard. No one cares if a male athlete has high levels of testosterone, and there’s no limit on it provided it’s not a product of synthetic doping. But women are told to alter their physiology in order to conform.
“You give up your health. You become unwell,” Worley says of what happens after androgens are curbed.
Is it possible that, under a no-testing policy, a woman might eventually dominate a sport at such a level that gender concerns become paramount? Maybe. But it hasn’t happened yet. And in the meantime, the present system asks women, even those on the fringes of international competition, to change to fit the requirements of the sport.
“You are asking individuals to change their bodies to ride a bike, to kick a ball,” Worley says. “It’s using science to adjust to social norms.”

Read the original article from The National Post here: