Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo

Women in Blue Needed in St. Paul

In 1989, Mary Nash was one of 35 women in a department of over 500 officers. Now, she is the Saint Paul Police Department’s Deputy Chief. Today, there are around 630 sworn officers in the department and 92 of them are women. 

This is progress, but the number of policewomen has been dropping in Saint Paul since 2014. For that reason, the department is seeking to recruit more women. On May 23 it will host its second Women in Uniform Recruitment Event, inviting women to hear about the rewards of a career in law enforcement. 

Nash said that over the last 40 years, studies have shown that policewomen are better at defusing confrontations because they have more effective interpersonal skills. “Women are more dependent on communication, rather than force.” 

Dunwoody Program Focuses on Training Women

Prior to starting a pioneering two-year program at Dunwoody College of Technology in 2015, 18 women were working in part-time jobs as gas station attendants, deli clerks, baristas, and other jobs, with an average hourly wage of $12.12/hour. After graduating in Spring 2017, all of the women are working full-time in their field, earning an average hourly wage of $19.85/hour in jobs with benefits and opportunities for career advancement. 

The Women in Technical Careers (WITC) program offers tracks in Automotive, Computer Technology, Construction Sciences & Building Technology, Engineering, and Robotics & Manufacturing. 

“WITC has changed my life outlook,” says Gianna Madison, a woman of color and single mom enrolled in the college’s new Bachelor of Architecture program. “Not only did the program provide financial support, it provided an ongoing support system, which was the extra boost I needed to navigate the challenges of being a student.”

WITC serves low-income women, with a focus on women of color and single mothers with dependent children. Women in the program receive tuition assistance of up to $10,000/year, along with child care support. A mentorship program pairs women with experienced female professionals from companies including 3M, Target, and Dell Software. Students also receive extra support to ensure their success in male-dominated environments. 

Freakonomics Podcast About Glass Ceilings and Cliffs

A Freakonomics Radio series titled "The Secret Life of CEOs" did a recent episode about women CEOs often being hired only when a company is in crisis. The "glass cliff" is the idea that women are often set up to fail. As the narrator put it in the opening: "We are several decades into a revolution that brought hundreds of millions of women into the global workforce. And 40 percent of managers are women. So what’s keeping more of them from reaching the top?" Details:

Gates Foundation Aims at Economic Gender Equity

In a Quartz essay, Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the global Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote about a new aim at gender equity. “As I spend more time visiting communities and meeting people around the world, I am convinced that we’ll never reach our goals if we don’t also address the systematic way that women and girls are undervalued. With a new focus on women’s economic empowerment, connecting women to markets, making sure they have access to financial services, and empowering them to help themselves, we aim to help tear down the barriers that keep half the world from leading a full life. Research shows that women are much more likely than men to buy things that set their families on a pathway out of poverty, like nutritious food, health care, and education."

Minnesota Women in the Boardroom 

Women’s participation in the U.S. labor force has risen from 32 percent in 1948 to 56.7 percent as of January 2018. Yet women in corporate boardrooms numbered only 16.6 percent in 2015, according to a Credit Suisse analysis of the largest 3,400 companies. 

Research shows that having at least three women in the boardroom can enable a critical mass that affects a board’s working style and dynamic. As an article in The Conversation indicated, only 11 states — including Minnesota — do okay in meeting that threshold, with one-third of companies having three or more women on boards. Researchers discovered that companies in states with policies that provide more protections for women tend to have a greater share of female directors. European countries such as Iceland, Norway, and France have become world leaders in female representation by instituting quotas; in 2017, women held more than 40 percent of the board members on the largest listed companies in those countries.

Girls Who Code

A national Girls Who Code Campus program is coming to the Twin Cities in Summer 2018. The two-week summer coding program is designed for girls 10 to 18 and will be hosted in Mendota Heights, Minnetonka, and St. Paul. Scholarships are available. Registration at

Instilling Teamwork, and Competition

The most recent Fortune list of Most Powerful Women includes 26 CEOs; 65 percent of them played competitive sports in high school or college. The most common sports the women played were swimming, basketball, and tennis.

One of them, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, played cricket in college. She also was shaped by a traditional family in a socially conservative area of India. Her mother asked Indra and her sister to deliver a speech every night about what they would do if they were a president or prime minister, and voted on the results.