Women's Values



Tonight we're discussing the TED talk given by Halla Tomasdottir, A Feminine Response to Iceland's Financial Crash.

Halla Tomasdottir believes that women’s values are key to solving Iceland’s economic crisis. In 2007, Halla and her business partner, Kristin Petursdottir, co-founded Audur Capital to bring greater diversity, social responsibility, and “feminine values” to the financial services industry. These values include independence, risk awareness, straight talk, emotional capital, and profit with principles.

"We believe in risk awareness. What does that mean? We believe that you should always understand the risks that you're taking, and we will not invest in things we don't understand. Not a complicated thing. But in 2007, at the height of the sub-prime and all the complicated financial structures, it was quite opposite to the reckless risk-taking behaviors that we saw on the market.
We also believe in straight-talking, telling it as it is, using simple language that people understand, telling people about the downsides as well as the potential upsides, and even telling the bad news that no one wants to utter, like our lack of belief in the sustainability of the Icelandic financial sector that already we had months before the collapse hit us.
And, although we do work in the financial sector, where Excel is king, we believe in emotional capital. And we believe that doing emotional due diligence is just as important as doing financial due diligence. It is actually people that make money and lose money, not Excel spreadsheets.
Last, but not least, we believe in profit with principles. We care how we make our profit. So while we want to make economic profit for ourselves and our customers, we are willing to do it with a long-term view, and we like to have a wider definition of profits than just the economic profit in the next quarter. So we like to see profits, plus positive social and environmental benefits, when we invest."

The whole thing about the female trend is not about women being better than men; it is actually about women being different from men, bringing different values and different ways to the table. So what do you get? You get better decision-making, and you get less herd behavior, and both of those things hit your bottom line with very positive results.

So let's talk about this!
Name the valuable qualities of women who are close to you. What are they good at? What are their strengths? What do you admire about them? What can they do that you wish you could personally do?

What do the women you know value in life? Value in a partner? Look for in a job? Look for in a living situation?

How do the women around you successfully negotiate? How do they successfully deal with conflict among their coworkers, friends or family?

Do the women that you know tend to follow other people's rules, or do they tend to make decisions independently? Do you know what kinds of criteria they base their decisions on? What are the ways the women you know deal with having to make an important decision? How do they go about it?

Tell us a story about a woman in your life who has been a role model for you, or has inspired you, or who made an impact on your life in some way.

We've been talking about all these things and these stories, do you think we can analyze what we've said a bit, and come up with: "What are the qualities that women bring to the table as leaders, business partners, coworkers and citizens?"


Five years later, Iceland elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir as their president -- first female to become head of state, single mom, a breast cancer survivor who had had one of her breasts removed. And at one of the campaign sessions, she had one of her male contenders allude to the fact that she couldn't become president -- she was a woman, and even half a woman. That night she won the election, because she came back -- not just because of his crappy behavior -- but she came back and said, "Well, I'm actually not going to breastfeed the Icelandic nation; I'm going to lead it."

Greatest comeback, or greatest comeback ever?


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