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Rutgers Business School announces launch of Center for Women in Business

<p>The Center for Women in Business will work to improve gender equity in the business world through empowerment and leadership development.</p>

The Center for Women in Business will work to improve gender equity in the business world through empowerment and leadership development.

The Rutgers Business School announced on Feb. 18 the launch of its Center for Women in Business (CWIB).

The center will work to improve gender equity in the business world by empowering working women and developing women business leaders through a robust network and academic research, said Lisa Kaplowitz, assistant professor of professional practice in finance and the center’s founding director.

”We are leveraging (more than) half a million alumni, one of the nation’s most diverse campuses and key industry partnerships to remove barriers for women and empower them with the confidence and expertise necessary to enter and succeed in a continuously evolving workforce,” she said.

She and staff are looking to offer resources for the whole Rutgers community of women, including students, faculty, alumni and staff, Kaplowitz said. She said they also want to provide resources for men to increase understanding of unconscious bias.

Offerings will include workshops, networking sessions and mentoring programs. They will begin during the 2020-21 academic year, Kaplowitz said. The CWIB will also hold an inaugural conference on April 17 at RBS, which will engage women business leaders, subject matter experts and Rutgers community members in mutual learning and networking.

Kaplowitz said she thought of creating the center due to the women she has met at Rutgers.

”As assistant professor of Finance at (Rutgers Business School), I am constantly floored by the talented female students and alumni I meet while recognizing that there is an opportunity to provide more support and guidance for these impressive women,” she said. 

Kaplowitz said she partnered with Assistant Dean for Mentoring Programs Sangeeta Rao to create the CWIB. Rao runs Women Business Undergraduates in Leadership Development (BUILD), a leadership certificate program for Rutgers Business School women undergraduates. She said the CWIB aspires to expand BUILD’s influence to other women, according to the article.

Approximately half of both the U.S. workforce and the college-educated workforce are women, but there are fewer female leaders than male leaders in U.S. corporations, said Lei Lei, dean of Rutgers Business School, according to studies. The CWIB is a strategic and important part of the RBS programs, she said.

”As a leading public business school in the Northeast with nearly 10,000 students, Rutgers Business School has a responsibility to prepare women leaders for tomorrow’s workforce through our innovative research and education programs,” Lei said.

Research conducted by the CWIB will serve as the basis of its events and promote more inclusive business practices, according to an article from Rutgers Business School. The center will focus on factors that motivate women to enter the business realm and promote women’s entrepreneurship, leadership and gender and racial equity in the workplace.

”In order to break down barriers, we have to have a very strong understanding of what those barriers are in order to develop, test and implement interventions,” said Kristina Durante, associate professor of marketing and research director of CWIB. 

Durante said the research will begin with investigating the influence of youth sports participation on women’s team building and leadership skills, the influence of sex ratios on women’s workplace behavior, the implicit biases that lead to favoritism toward same-gendered associates and the role of male mentors in women’s success in business.

Lei said she sees potential for business women in New Jersey and beyond to benefit from the center’s research and for the center to become a national leader in preparing women executives for the future.

”The CWIB will help to prepare female students and employees to successfully manage various challenges now and in the future, showcasing the strengths of the Rutgers Business School brand: Resilient, Resourceful, Responsible and Reinventing Yourself for the Digital Era,” Lei said.

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