Here’s a suggestion for good research paper topics for economics, finance, business or political science class: women executives in politics and business. With the recent nomination by President Obama of Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chairman, women in positions of power are back in the news. Research papers can profile prominent business women, how they achieved their current position, strategies and management styles for women executives and educational opportunities for women in business and politics.
Rise of Janet Yellen in Federal Reserve
Yellen is currently vice-chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and worked at the Federal Reserve throughout the 1990s with then chairman Alan Greenspan. She was president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, co-authored a Nobel prize-winning paper, earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and was a professor at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley.
Need for women role models
Seeing women in positions of power in business and politics inspires female college students. According to Tara Sinclair and Amy Guisinger of George Washington University: “Some research suggests that the gender gap in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce could be due to a lack of female role models and gender stereotyping. Seeing Yellen take such an important leadership role during a critical moment for the U.S. economy is particularly inspiring. Hopefully, this nomination will motivate a new wave of female economists and female leaders around the world,” posted in “A professor’s take: A role model for college women at the Federal Reserve” October 10, 2013, in the GW Hatchet student newspaper.
Women bring their own attributes to leadership positions
Women and men have different leadership styles. Kristen Houghton wrote in “Women In Business: Why You Don’t Have To Be ‘More Like a Man’ To Get Ahead,” posted in HuffingtonPost.com February 15, 2012: “Being nurturing and supportive of your coworkers is actually a good attribute for leadership. Dr. John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert, says that the qualities of a charismatic leader combine love of life, valuing the potential in other people, giving hope in troubling situations and sharing their talents and their success in a positive way that benefits all.”
Women are generally more motivated by the purpose or meaning of their work than men, who are typically more focused on compensation and job title. Women are more risk averse and can make practical decisions for a company’s profitable goals. Women also are more comfortable with compromising and finding mutually beneficial consensus among executives and employees.
Colleges prepare women for executive positions
Matt Symonds of The Independent wrote in “The MBA Is No Longer Just a Man’s World” posted on October 13, 2011, in Questia.com: “Schools around the globe have also been working hard to promote business education to women through a range of specific learning initiatives, and working with universities and involving their female alumni to share their experience.”
Today the majority of research doctorates given to U.S. citizens go to women. Women now earn 57 percent of bachelor degrees and 59 percent of master’s degrees. Many women in MBA programs today are on track to assume board-level positions during their career. While the glass ceiling preventing women from executive positions still exists, it is being rapidly chipped away. Women are networking and collaborating to improve conditions in business and politics for women.
Women in positions of power
Other notable women in powerful positions that might make good research paper topics include:
• Hillary Rodham Clinton – lawyer, First Lady, Senator, U.S. Secretary of State and presidential candidate
• Susan Rice – United States National Security Advisor and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
• Ginni Rometty – chairman, president and CEO of IBM
• Meg Whitman – president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard
• Sheryl Sandberg – chief operating officer of Facebook and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
• Drew Gilpin Faust – president of Harvard University
• Melinda Gates – co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of charities
• Caroline Little – president and CEO of Newspaper Association of America
For more exceptional women, check out Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for 2013.
Who are some prominent women who have inspired you?