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An Asian American and Pacific Islander Womans Lens

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					 LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES
   AND OPPORTUNITIES:


An Asian American        1

and Pacific Islander
  Woman’s Lens
                                            TABLE OF
                                            CONTENTS
                                            Executive Summary ......................... 3

                                            Highlights of the Study .................... 9
                                               I.     Introduction ............................ 9
                                               II.    Research Goals and
                                                      Methodology .......................... 9
                                               III.   Current Status of AA/PI
                                                      Women Leaders .................... 10
                                               IV.    Leadership Paths and Self
                                                      Perceptions of AA/PI Women . 12
                                               V.     Leadership Styles of
                                                      AA/PI Women ....................... 16
                                               VI.    Societal Challenges Facing
                                                      AA/PI Women Leaders .......... 18
2
                                               VII. Individual Challenges Facing
                                                    AA/PI Women Leaders .......... 22
                                               VIII. Strategies to Overcome Societal
                                                     and Individual Challenges to
                                                     AA/PI Women’s Leadership .. 23
                                               IX.    Role of Leadership Training
                                                      Programs in the Advancement
                                                      of AA/PI Women Leaders ..... 27
    Research study sponsored by:               X.     Further Study Needed ........... 28
    Kaiser Permanente
    Edison International                       XI.    Final Recommendations and
    State Farm Insurance Company                      Conclusions .......................... 29
                                               XII. Participant Profile ................. 30
    APAWLI wishes to thank:
                                            Sponsors .......................................... 32
    Francey Youngberg, Leigh-Ann
    Miyasato and Don Nakanishi as the
    three principal researchers and
    Helen Zia and Diane Yen-Mei Wong
    for editing Leadership Challenges and
    Opportunities: An Asian American and
    Pacific Islander Woman’s Lens
                                              q    The absence of Asian American and
EXECUTIVE                                     Pacific Islander women in leadership
                                              roles suggests two very different but

SUMMARY                                       inter-connected impacts: first, women
                                              are not realizing their full potential; and
                                              second, the sectors examined are
                                              missing the opportunity to benefit from
INTRODUCTION                                  diverse perspectives and skills of a
                                              talented leadership pool.
     This study was undertaken by the
Asian Pacific American Women’s                RESEARCH FINDINGS
Leadership Institute (APAWLI) to (a)
identify the leadership skills, perceptions       Asian American and Pacific
and insights of Asian American and            Islander women are consistently
Pacific Islander women; and (b) under-
stand their participation and impact in       underrepresented in top positions in
higher education, government, and
                                              every major sector examined.
private and non-profit sectors.
     The study also provides a benchmark
                                              q    Within the corporate sector, Asian
from which to develop recommendations         American and Pacific Islander women
– including organizational and individual     hold fewer than 1/2 of one percent of
strategies – to increase the representation   the positions on corporate foundation
of Asian American and Pacific Islander        boards and in corporate officer ranks.
women in leadership roles.                                                                  3
                                              Asian American and Pacific Islander
                                              women are the least represented group at
SUMMARY FINDING                               the top corporate levels – far less than
     Asian American and Pacific               white women and other women of color.
Islander (AA/PI) women define leader-         q    Within the government sector, there
ship in some of the same ways as non-         is one Asian American woman in
AA/PI women. In addition, though,             Congress and one Asian American
AA/PI women identify self-awareness,          federal judge (both from Hawai`i); and
vision, empathy, communications skills,       as of 2001, one Asian American woman
spiritual foundation, acceptance of risk      Cabinet member. At state and local
and hands-on engagement as important          levels, there are very few AA/PI women
leadership dimensions. Further, notable       who hold elected office, and they are
differences exist between Asian Ameri-        underrepresented at the highest levels of
can women who live on the continental         government service.
United States and Pacific Islander
                                              q    Within the non-profit sector, Asian
women in Hawai`i.
                                              American and Pacific Islander women
q    This study documents the remark-         hold fewer than 1/2 of one percent of
able absence of Asian American and            the positions on private foundations
Pacific Islander women in leadership          boards. AA/PI women are
positions in the corporate, non-profit,       underrepresented in executive positions
government and educational sectors.           of non-profit organizations, except
                                              those serving ethnic communities.
    q    Within the education sector, Asian        to process and goals; the relationship      women and their presumed lack of
    American and Pacific Islander women            builder who brings people together and      leadership qualities. Stereotypes that
    hold less than 1 percent of the leadership     helps build relationships; the person       pose challenges include the perpetual
    positions at colleges and universities, and    who “steps up to the plate” because she     foreigner, being shy and submissive, the
    face the largest gender gap of any racial or   sees a gap that needs to be filled; and     geisha girl and the dragon lady.
    ethnic group. At the K-12 level, AA/PI         the quiet leader who convenes people        q    A significant majority of Asian
    women rarely become principals.                and gets things done but who stays in       American and Pacific Islander women
                                                   the background.                             working in the continental U.S. believe
                                                   q    Asian American and Pacific             that their ethnicity is a major challenge
    Asian American and Pacific                     Islander women also spoke of their          to advancement. Survey participants
                                                   commitment to an inclusive, collabora-      from Hawai`i, though, identified gender
    Islander women may lead in                     tive, consensus-building leadership style   as more of a challenge. Many partici-
                                                   rooted in principles, relationships and     pants also identified the dominant
                                                   an ethic of service.                        black/white paradigm of race relations
    ways that are different from                                                               in American culture as a hindrance to
                                                   q    Asian American or Pacific Islander
                                                   women leaders who don’t seek recogni-       their acceptance as leaders.
    the current American cultural                  tion are perceived as less effective than   q    Immigrant status is also identified
                                                   the assertive, risk-taking leader arche-    as a potential discrimination factor:
    norm. As a result of                           type of the current culture.                Asian American women who are
                                                   q    Non-AA/PI leaders attribute            immigrants (approximately 60 percent
    differences in leadership                      humility, nurturing, sensitivity, and       of all Asian Americans) are less likely to
                                                   listening ability to Asian American and     be in management jobs than those born
    styles, the value of their                     Pacific Islander women, but they            in the U.S.
4                                                  generally do not value these characteris-   q    Mainland Asian Americans viewed
    leadership contributions is                    tics as highly as other attributes that     culturally-based traditions and expecta-
                                                   they associate with leadership.             tions, as well as family responsibilities,
                                                                                               as additional challenges to leadership
    often unrecognized.                            q    Native Hawaiian women reported
                                                                                               development. Women from Hawai`i did
                                                   some cultural differences between them
                                                   and Asian Americans, such as coming         not view cultural values as a hindrance.
    q    Asian American and Pacific
                                                   from a tradition that has a historical
    Islander women leaders – like their
                                                   and cultural foundation that includes           Asian American and Pacific
    mainstream counterparts – do not               strong women leaders, and being more
    subscribe to an authoritarian model of         expressive with their emotions.             Islander women use different values to
    leadership. Instead they said effective
    leaders have self-awareness, vision,                                                       process the dynamic between power
    communication skills, empathy, a                   Race and gender based stereotypes       and leadership.
    spiritual foundation, hands-on engage-
                                                   and bias pose challenges to Asian
    ment and acceptance of risk.                                                               q    Some Asian American and Pacific
    q    Asian American and Pacific                American and Pacific Islander women         Islander women are reluctant to claim
                                                                                               leadership positions, saying they were
    Islander women spoke of additional             attaining leadership positions.             just in the right place at the right time.
    leadership styles mentioned by only a
    few comparison group participants              q    Study participants repeatedly cited    q   Beliefs and self-perceptions held by
    from the mainland, or continent – the          numerous assumptions that are rou-          Asian American and Pacific Islander
    principled leader for whom values and          tinely made in the workplace about          women leaders can lead to ambivalence
    principles are at least equally important      Asian American and Pacific Islander         about wielding power – which is defined
here as the ability to influence behavior, to   cultural integrity. This may mean           leader,” the “relationship builder,” the
change the course of events and to              sharpening communication skills,            person who “steps up to the plate,” the
overcome resistance – or to reluctance to       especially in such areas as asking for –    “quiet leader.” While Asian American
adapt traits and behaviors that conflict        and giving – feedback, selling ideas and    and Pacific Islander women themselves
with their own sense of identity.               keeping others aware of accomplish-         generally may not “value” recognition,
                                                ments. The women can better position        it is a valuable tool through which to
RECOMMENDATIONS AND                             themselves so that whenever possible        provide opportunities for others.
CONCLUSIONS                                     they can work in their areas of talent.     q    Mentor and be mentored. Create
     Experienced Asian American and             They may want to set up their own           many pipelines. Each sector – non-
Pacific Islander women can turn                 “advisory board” or personal “board of      profit, profit, government and educa-
challenges into opportunities, by               directors,” comprised of people from        tion – has a particular culture that
viewing challenges as invitations to            diverse levels, functions and back-         Asian American and Pacific Islander
make change. These women have                   grounds in areas that are important to      women must navigate and help trans-
discovered important strategies to              them.                                       form. Given the low numbers in
advance ethical, caring and compassion-         q    Change the environment. Advance        leadership positions in every sector,
ate leadership, and they have shared            inclusiveness and create an environment     collaboration is the key. Those Asian
some of these approaches in this study.         where Asian American and Pacific            American and Pacific Islander women
Some strategies are aimed at organiza-          Islander women’s cultural differences –     already in those positions can also
tions, some at women as individuals.            including their commitment to an            mentor others to ensure that there is a
q    Do the research. Acknowledge areas
                                                inclusive, collaborative, consensus-        steady source of women identified to
of ignorance, whether of the Asian              building leadership style – are perceived   lead and prepared to lead.
American and Pacific Islander popula-           as a “value-added” resource, rather         q    Use this study as a benchmark. This
tion that is served by the organization         than a hindrance, to organizations.         study represents the first national survey   5
or of the Asian American and Pacific            Through training and other experiences,     ever conducted on leadership and Asian
Islander women within the organiza-             provide employers and co-workers with       American and Pacific Islander women.
tion, including their career histories and      cultural savvy – that is, knowledge and     While it provides a snapshot of what
perceptions of opportunity for advance-         understanding and exposure – so that        exists, there is still so much more to
ment. Identify key resources that will          they can better understand and utilize      learn. This study by APAWLI is but a
help answer key questions and provide           leadership styles that the women can        springboard for much-needed future
important contacts in the community.            bring to organizations. This requires       research and debate on how to advance
Develop relationships with the commu-           identifying, understanding, and then        Asian American and Pacific Islander
nity, paying particular attention to            going beyond, existing leadership paths     women’s leadership.
under-represented segments of the Asian         and strategies. Creating innovative ways
                                                to bring in and support new these faces,    q    Be courageous. To bring about
American and Pacific Islander commu-                                                        change and to integrate its lessons
nity to ensure that opportunities are           voices and experiences in leadership
                                                ranks means operating from the              requires courage on the part of organi-
shared.                                                                                     zations and individual Asian American
                                                perspective of Asian American and
q    “Know thyself.” Asian American             Pacific Islander women.                     and Pacific Islander women. For
and Pacific Islander women can                                                              organizations, it may mean setting goals
                                                q   Recognize accomplishments.
objectively assess the “cultural gap”                                                       and tracking results; holding managers
between themselves and the organiza-            Celebrate accomplishments, and thereby      and supervisors accountable for results;
tions in which they seek to operate. In         help end invisibility. Those women          putting resources into leadership
the course of learning about themselves,        already in leadership positions can         training; or looking more globally at
they can also identify and implement            communicate success stories and             how Asian American and Pacific
strategies that will close that gap while       provide recognition especially of the       Islander women’s leadership qualities
allowing them to maintain their own             “undervalued” styles of the “principled     can help this country thrive in the 21st
    century. For the women, it may mean              For information or to obtain a copy           APAWLI programs are designed to
    challenging stereotypes and biased          of the full 250-page research report,         help women answer two questions
    behavior whether directed at them or        contact APAWLI at info@apawli.org.            “Who am I” and “So What” – because
    others; taking risks; going after higher                                                  we believe that success in leadership is
    visibility assignments; becoming more                                                     assured for those who discover their
    adaptable in different environments.                                                      gifts and talents and apply them to
         Most challenges to leadership –        ABOUT APAWLI                                  their passion.
    whether organizational or individual –                                                         APAWLI believes that effective and
    are about vision, capacity to move               The Asian Pacific American               ethical leaders continually move beyond
    others to believe in that vision, and       Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI)         established paradigms to create new and
    compassion for those who fear taking        is a national, nonprofit organization         better visions and connections – both
    action. These are the very qualities that   dedicated to the enhancement and              personally and professionally. We help
    Asian American and Pacific Islander         enrichment of leadership skills for Asian     build a solid base for ethical leadership
    women have identified as their leader-      American and Pacific Islander (AA/PI)         – the first step is by understanding our
    ship strengths.                             women through education, networking           inner self and gaining knowledge of
         So, what happens next? Individual      and mentoring.                                one’s own identity, culture and history.
    Asian American and Pacific Islander
    women have certain options; organiza-       VISION                                        PRESENT APAWLI PROGRAMS
    tions have others. For those responsible        Ethical, caring and compassionate
    for shaping events that will affect Asian   Asian American and Pacific Islander           Fellowship Program
    American and Pacific Islander women
                                                women at leadership tables.                   Intensive Leadership
    and girls, the opportunities for action
    are many. The Asian Pacific American                                                      Training Workshops
                                                MISSION
6
    Women’s Leadership Institute commits                                                      Bi-Annual Summits
    to do the following:                             Address the challenges facing U.S.
                                                                                              Research
                                                and to nurture trusteeship within our
    1.  Continue to offer its premier
                                                communities by expanding leadership
    Leadership Fellowship Program.
                                                capacity, fostering awareness of Asian
    2.   Explore producing a new program        American and Pacific Islander issues,
    for emerging women leaders.                 creating a supportive network of AA/PI
    3.   Provide information to anyone          women and strengthening community.
    interested in knowing more about Asian           Some believe leaders are born and
    American and Pacific Islander women         not made. APAWLI believes that under
    and leadership.                             the right circumstances, each of us has the
                                                innate power and ability to lead. Further-
    4.   Hold regional workshops that will      more, APAWLI recognizes that even born
    reach more Asian American and Pacific       leaders benefit from leadership training.
    Islander women who want to explore          APAWLI approaches leadership with a
    the meaning of leadership and how it        three–step process that includes self–
    applies to their lives.                     knowledge, self–improvement and
    5.  Create clarity and consistency          recognizing one’s passion. These steps
    around the values of ethical, caring and    culminate with creating and seizing
    compassionate leadership, building          opportunities to take action. Leadership
    upon the experiences, knowledge, skills     requires, vision, courage, will and desire
    and wisdom of the community of Asian        to make a difference.
    American and Pacific Islander women.
AN ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMAN’S LENS




Asian American and
Pacific Islander women
experience significant
challenges to attaining
leadership positions in                               7

all major sectors of the
economy due to racial
and gender stereotypes,
bias, and cultural
differences.
    AN ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMAN’S LENS




    As Secretary of Labor
    for President George
    W. Bush, Elaine Chao,
    in 2001, became the
    first Asian American or
    Pacific Islander woman
8   to serve in the
    President’s Cabinet.
    Before that, no
    Asian American or
    Pacific Islander woman
    had even served in a
    senior White House
    staff position.
                                              tions, government at all levels, educa-
HIGHLIGHTS                                    tional institutions, and non-profit
                                              organizations are being denied the

OF THE STUDY                                  opportunity to benefit from the diverse
                                              perspectives and skills of a talented
                                              group of individuals.
                                                   APAWLI is the only national, non-
                                              profit organization dedicated to
I.   INTRODUCTION
                                              leadership development and fellowship
                                              for Asian Pacific American women.
                                              Since APAWLI was founded in 1993,
     This multi-phase study was               the Institute has successfully drawn
undertaken by the Asian Pacific               women of vision, passion, and excep-
American Women’s Leadership Institute         tional commitment to the values of
(APAWLI) to (a) identify the leadership       ethical, caring and compassionate
skills, perceptions and insights of Asian     leadership. Fifty-seven women have
American and Pacific Islander women;          participated in the three-week Leader-
and (b) understand their experiences in       ship Institute, and 800 women have
higher education, government, and             participated in its other intensive
private and non-profit sectors.               programs and summits.
     The study also provides a benchmark
from which to develop recommendations
– including organizational and individual
strategies – to increase the representation   II. APAWLI RESEARCH GOALS AND              9
of Asian American and Pacific Islander            METHODOLOGY
women in leadership roles.
                                              q    To collect and analyze existing and
SUMMARY FINDING:
                                              original data about Asian American and
     Asian American and Pacific Islander      Pacific Islander women leaders;
women experience significant challenges
to attaining leadership positions in all      q   To examine how Asian American
major sectors of the economy due to           and Pacific Islander women leaders
racial and gender stereotypes, bias, and      perceive themselves;
cultural differences.
                                              q   To assess how they are perceived by
q   This study offers extensive docu-         other leaders;
mentation of the absence of Asian
American and Pacific Islander women in        q    To review some critical issues
leadership positions throughout society.      facing Asian American and Pacific
     Implicit in this summary finding is      Islander women leaders; and
a double social impact: 1) Asian
American and Pacific Islander women           q    To recommend measures to advance
are not realizing their full potential as     caring and ethical leadership by Asian
contributors and leaders in their chosen      American and Pacific Islander women.
professions; 2) the nation’s corpora-
     METHODOLOGY                                          (3) Literature Review. Researchers         government, non-profit and education.
                                                     surveyed current sources of informa-                 Asian American women who are
          Sources for this study consisted of                                                        q
                                                     tion on Asian American and Pacific              immigrants (approximately 60 percent
     three major components:
                                                     Islander women leaders found in                 of all Asian Americans) are even less
          (1) Focus Groups and Interviews.
                                                     scholarly journals, books and in                likely to be in management jobs than
     Researchers conducted 12 focus groups
                                                     dissertations; and also in popular              U.S.-born Asian American women.
     with 83 Asian American and Pacific
                                                     magazines, newspapers and the
     Islander women, in six cities (Chicago,
                                                     Internet. The review was current as of
     Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles,
                                                     September 2000, except in updating              Asian American and Pacific
     Philadelphia and Washington, DC). They          some political data, which were based
     also completed in-depth interviews of 67        on the November 2000 election.
     Asian American and Pacific Islander                  This summary highlights the
                                                                                                     Islander women’s leaders
     women leaders. See Section XII, Tables          significant findings and recommenda-
     1 through 5 for a more detailed profile of      tions of the study. To obtain a copy of         are significantly and
     participants.                                   the complete 250-page report, contact
          The study also contains informa-           APAWLI at (303) 399-8899 or visit the           consistently
     tion from interviews of 35 “comparison          Institute’s website at www.apawli.org.
     group” members. This group, which                    Also, this report contains many            underrepresented in the four
     provided a range of perspectives held by        quotes and anecdotes made by respon-
     the general community about Asian               dents. Some refer to stereotypes of             major employment sectors –
     American and Pacific Islander women             Asian American and Pacific Islander
     leaders, included white, African                peoples. These are used here to illustrate
     American and Latino men and women,              commonly held stereotypes. Neither
                                                                                                     corporate, government,
10   and also Asian American and Pacific             APAWLI nor the researchers supports
     Islander men. See Section XII, Table 6          the use of such stereotypes.                    non-profit and education.
     for a more detailed profile of the
     comparison group.                                                                               B.   CORPORATE SECTOR LEADERSHIP
          (2) Questionnaire. Two-thirds of 267
     respondents to the questionnaire were
                                                     III. CURRENT STATUS OF ASIAN
                                                                                                     q    Asian American and Pacific
     from California and Hawai‘i, where 75                                                           Islander women corporate managers are
                                                          AMERICAN AND PACIFIC
     percent of Asian Americans and Pacific                                                          underrepresented in the highest-paying
                                                          ISLANDER WOMEN LEADERS
     Islanders live.                                                                                 fields: durable manufacturing, non-
          All participants in the focus groups,      A.   FEW ASIAN AMERICAN AND                     durable manufacturing, and communi-
                                                          PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN HAVE                cations and utilities.
     interviews and questionnaires were
     identified by the Institute, researchers and         ATTAINED VISIBLE ROLES OF
                                                                                                     q    Foreign-born Asian American and
     other community leaders. While they do               LEADERSHIP IN THE LARGER
                                                                                                     Pacific Islander women are less likely
     not comprise a representative sample of              SOCIETY.
                                                                                                     to reach upper levels of management
     the whole diversity of the communities,                                                         than U.S.-born women. Asian Ameri-
                                                     q   Asian American and Pacific Islander
     they provide a great deal information                                                           can and Pacific Islander women who
                                                     women’s leaders are significantly and
     about the qualities, characteristics, and                                                       are recent immigrants have only half
                                                     consistently underrepresented in the four
     beliefs of Asian American and Pacific                                                           the chance as white women to be in
                                                     major employment sectors – corporate,
     Islander women leaders.

          RESEARCHERS’ NOTE: The term “Hawai`i participants” refers to any respondents who live in the state of Hawai`i, regardless of their
     ethnicity. This should not be confused with Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders; they will be specifically referred to as such where
     indicated in the report findings. In addition, “mainland” and “continental” U.S. are used interchangeably.
management jobs, but U.S.- born and          were less satisfied with their jobs, pay,   collar employees – constituting 1.1
more established Asian American and          and advancement opportunities than          percent of the total number of employ-
Pacific Islander women have the same         other women of color.                       ees at those levels.
odds as white women in attaining
management positions.                        q    According to the Equal Employ-         q    While 14 of the 18 women in
                                             ment Opportunity Commission, Asian          Hawai‘i’s current state legislature are of
q    Dissatisfaction with corporate job      American and Pacific Islander women in      Asian American and Pacific Islander
experiences may lead Asian American          private industry are five times more        descent, on the mainland, only four
and Pacific Islander women to start          likely to be “professionals” than           Asian American women serve in state
their own businesses. They were second       “officials and managers.” For white         legislatures – two each in California and
only to African American women in            women the disparity was double.             Washington. Asian American and
reporting race discrimination in their                                                   Pacific Islander women in state and
former positions, and they were the                                                      local government also tend to be
                                             C.   GOVERNMENT SECTOR
most likely to have been passed over for                                                 appointed rather than elected officials.
                                                  LEADERSHIP
a promotion and least likely to have a
                                                                                         q    Despite these statistics, only 47
mentor in establishing their business.       q   There is currently only one Asian       percent of the Asian American and
                                             American or Pacific Islander woman          Pacific Islander women federal employ-
q    When they become entrepreneurs,         member of Congress: Patsy T. Mink
Asian American women have less access                                                    ees surveyed in 1993 agreed with a
                                             (D-Hawai`i).                                statement that they face extra obstacles
to credit than other women. According
to the National Foundation for Women         q    As Secretary of Labor for President    because they are both minority and
Business Owners, only 45 percent of          George W. Bush, Elaine Chao, in 2001,       female. This suggests that they could be
Asian American women business                became the first Asian American or          either unaware of the bias or in denial
owners have bank credit, compared to         Pacific Islander woman to serve in the      that it exists.
60 percent of white women and 50             President’s Cabinet. Before that, no                                                     11
percent of Hispanic women.                   Asian American or Pacific Islander
                                             woman had even served in a senior           D.   NONPROFIT SECTOR LEADERSHIP
q    Although Asian American and             White House staff position (Assistant to
Pacific Islander women make up 2             the President and above).                   q    Asian American and Pacific
percent of the total population, their                                                   Islander women make up less than
representation is less than 0.5 percent      q    One Asian American or Pacific          0.5 percent of private foundation
on corporate boards corporate officer        Islander woman currently serves as a        board members, according to a survey
ranks. Their representation is far less      judge of a court authorized by the          of 644 private foundations.
than that of white women and other           U.S. Constitution: Susan Oki Mollway
women of color. Only 18 Asian                of the U.S. District Court for the          q    While only 16 percent of the
American and Pacific Islander women          District of Hawai‘i.                        executives of nonprofit organizations
(0.2 percent of the total) sit on the                                                    are women, and data disaggregated by
                                             q    In 1998, Asian Americans and
boards of Fortune 1000 companies, and                                                    race/ethnicity are not available, the
                                             Pacific Islanders (both men and women)
only 21 Asian American and Pacific                                                       number of Asian American and Pacific
                                             held 1.8 percent of all Senior Executive
Islander women (0.3 percent of the                                                       Islander women nonprofit executives is
                                             Service positions, which include the
total) are officers of large corporations.                                               likely to be much lower, taking into
                                             highest managerial, supervisory, and
                                             policy positions in the executive branch    consideration their smaller percentage
q    According to one study, nearly half
                                             of the federal government.                  in the population.
of the Asian American women in
corporate management believed their          q    Asian American and Pacific             q    Asian American and Pacific
advancement opportunities had not            Islander women are underrepresented at      Islander women leaders of nonprofits
changed in the prior five years. Asian       the three highest General Schedule levels   serving their ethnic communities are
American women corporate managers            – a system of classifying federal white-    more readily identifiable than those in
     mainstream institutions. More research is    q    Asian American and Pacific              q    Struggles of immigrant parents. The
     needed to confirm the extent of the          Islander women faculty face both an          struggle of immigrant parents made a
     underrepresentation because so little is     ethnicity gap and a gender gap in            significant impression on about half of
     known about the numbers of Asian             obtaining tenure. In 1993 they were          the U.S.-born continental participants.
     American and Pacific Islander women          tenured at a rate of 52 percent, the         A Japanese American union officer who
     working in these areas, their positions of   lowest tenure rate of all racial and         grew up in a multi-generational home
     seniority, and their pace of advancement.    ethnic groups.                               told of the conflicting views held by her
                                                  q    There were only two Asian               grandmother and her own parents. Her
                                                  American and Pacific Islander women          grandmother impressed upon her the
     In higher education, Asian                   presidents of colleges and universities in   notion that a woman’s role was to be a
                                                  1996.                                        good wife and bear sons, while her
                                                                                               parents told her that she could be
     American and Pacific                         q    Asian American and Pacific              anything she wanted to be.
                                                  Islander women rarely become princi-
     Islander women faculty face                                                               q    Parents’ work ethic. Another
                                                  pals of K-12 schools. According to a
                                                  1993-94 study, the most recent data          participant attributed her work ethic to
                                                                                               her parents, who taught her “to
     the largest gender gap of                    available, they represented just 0.78
                                                                                               appreciate what you have and work
                                                  percent of all principals.
                                                                                               hard for what you want.”
     any racial or ethnic group.
                                                                                               q    Community service and addressing

     [They also] face both an                     IV.  APAWLI FINDINGS ON THE
                                                                                               injustice. Most of the focus-group and
                                                                                               interview participants felt that the idea
                                                       LEADERSHIP PATHS AND                    of community service and commitment
12
     ethnicity gap and a gender                        SELF-PERCEPTIONS OF                     to addressing inequities or injustice had
                                                       ASIAN AMERICAN AND                      been ingrained in them by their parents,
     gap in obtaining tenure.                          PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN                  teachers, or other role models. One
                                                                                               elected official said, “activist blood is
                                                       Family, school, and early intercul-     part of my DNA structure,” because her
     E.   EDUCATION SECTOR LEADERSHIP             tural interactions with the majority         father was a minister and her mother
                                                  population were formative for many           worked with disabled children. These
     q    Asian American and Pacific
                                                  Asian American and Pacific Islander          women saw their achievements as
     Islander women hold only 0.8 percent
                                                  women in their paths to leadership.          important beyond their individual gains.
     of positions of leadership positions at
                                                                                               They felt they were “making their
     colleges and universities and appear to
                                                  A.   EARLY FAMILY INFLUENCES                 parents proud,” that their success was
     face a glass ceiling.
                                                       WERE IMPORTANT FOR                      “good for the Asian Pacific American
     q     In higher education, Asian                  LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT                  community,” and that they served as
     American and Pacific Islander women                                                       “role models for other women.” A
     faculty face the largest gender gap of       q    Parental emphasis on educational        Pacific Island community leader talked
     any racial or ethnic group. In 1993          achievement. According to many               about the “privileges” she has –
     they comprised only one-third of all         mainland participants in focus groups        education and the ability to navigate in
     Asian American and Pacific Islander          and individual interviews, their             the Western world – and the responsi-
     faculty while men represented two-thirds.    parents’ emphasis on educational             bility she feels to open doors for others.
     Moreover, they were concentrated at the      achievement was a major influence in
                                                                                               q   Parental activism. A nonprofit
     junior ranks, holding only 11.2 percent of   their formative years.
                                                                                               leader in Washington, D.C. learned
     all Asian American and Pacific Islander
                                                                                               about activism from her father, who
     full professorships.
AN ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMAN’S LENS




Most of the focus-
group and interview
participants felt that the
idea of community
service and
commitment to
addressing inequities or
injustice had been
ingrained in them by                                  13


their parents, teachers,
or other role models.
One elected official
said, “activist blood is
part of my DNA
structure,” because her
father was a minister
and her mother worked
with disabled children.
     was passionate about human rights in            education after high school; (3) choos-     ranking Hawai‘i public official who
     Korea. “He went to demonstrations and           ing a different major in college; (4)       began her leadership work in school.
     I thought that was what every Korean            getting involved politically; (5) taking    She said that from a young age she
     family did. It wasn’t until I went to           leadership roles in extracurricular         viewed herself as a competent and
     college that I found out, no, that is not       activities; (6) applying for scholarships   reliable person rather than as a leader.
     what every Korean does. But I really            in order to attend a better school; (7)     Women, she believed, are more likely to
     learned to respect my father for being          not working in their parents’ business;     view themselves that way “because it’s
     out in front and pushing against the            (8) not getting married; (9) marrying a     rather egotistical to say you’re a leader.”
     popular or mainstream Korean commu-             non-Asian; or (10) not having children.     q    Nurturing schools. The Native
     nity because he was ostracized a lot and                                                    Hawaiian participants who had
     . . . he fought back. I think that really                                                   attended Kamehameha Schools – whose
     prepared me for taking some leadership          B.   SCHOOL EXPERIENCES WERE                mission is to educate Native Hawaiian
     roles in college.”                                   ALSO IMPORTANT IN THE                  children – found school to be a nurtur-
     q    Mothers’ influence. A few Hawai‘i
                                                          DEVELOPMENT OF ASIAN                   ing environment, a place where, as one
     participants specifically mentioned their            AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER          participant said, she was instilled with
     mothers’ strong influence in their early             WOMEN AS LEADERS.                      the belief that she could do anything she
     development. One high-ranking                        The Asian American and Pacific         wanted to do.
     government leader told of her mother’s          Islander women in the study, in addition    q    Being different. A few mainland
     decision to leave her abusive husband in        to their formative experiences, shared      participants, however, recounted painful
     Japan and immigrate to Hawai‘i with             how they made their ways to roles of        stories of being picked on in school
     her two young children. That decision,          leadership and prominence in their          because they were different or did not
     along with other sacrifices her mother          respective fields. As one comparison        speak English well. The reasons for the
     made to raise her children alone,               group participant stated, “becoming a       discrimination most often were: (1)
14
     encouraged her daughter to take risks in        leader is a lifelong process.” Some         looking and acting different from other
     her own life. In speaking of her grati-         exhibited leadership potential early,       students and (2) difficulty with the
     tude toward her mother, she said,               while others became leaders later in life   English language (for immigrants). A
     “[W]hen you look at her, she just looks         out of a sense of necessity. A few were     Korean American woman said that she
     like a regular, normal person. But I start      reluctant leaders who were thrust into      had been called “chink” in school. A
     talking about her and all she had to do         leadership roles by others.                 Filipina American attorney who was
     to bring U.S. here . . . I put it in context.   q    School leadership positions. A         born in Chicago reported that “other
     Nothing I can do equals what she did.           number of focus group and interview         kids teased me, calling me flat-nosed. I
     She’s been a profound influence on me.”         participants held leadership roles in       spent the first day under a desk,
     q    Rebellion against parents. Interest-       school, which correlates with the           crying,” but the children ended up being
     ingly, several continental participants         experience of comparison group              her friends. This may not be surprising
     related incidents when they rebelled            participants. Most of the Hawai‘i           given that most mainland participants
     against their parents as important              participants, and about half of the         grew up in predominantly white
     junctures in becoming a leader. Many of         continental participants, had held          neighborhoods, while Hawai`i partici-
     them said that they acted contrary to           leadership positions either in student      pants lived in a more multiethnic,
     their parents’ wishes at some time              government or organizations. Even           multicultural environment.
     during their youth or young adulthood           there, though, some ambivalence about
     by (1) moving away from their home              leadership were already emerging, as
     towns for college; (2) pursuing higher          reflected by statements of a high-
C.   THE MAJORITY OF ASIAN                   tend to mentor those of the same sex as
     AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER           themselves. She also felt that Samoans      While the high percentage of
     WOMEN LEADERS HAD MENTORS,              were tied to their chiefs and their
     NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES AND            churches, where the true leaders of their   Asian American and Pacific
     VISIBLE ASSIGNMENTS.                    community may be found.
                                                                                         Islander women who have
                                             Support and Networking
Mentors
q    About 71.2 percent of question-         q   Eighty-eight percent of the ques-       mentors, networking
naire respondents reported having been       tionnaire respondents agreed greatly or
mentored, with Hawai‘i participants          somewhat with the statement, “I have        opportunities, visible
more likely to have had mentors than         experienced a lot of support to reach
                                             my current position.”
their continental counterparts.                                                          assignments, and leadership
                                             q     Approximately 80 percent of
q    Many of the women had been
mentored in more than one arena in           respondents agreed that they had a          training is an encouraging
their lives.                                 great number of networking opportuni-
                                             ties in their professions.
q    Among these women, 88 percent                                                       fact, it also reflects a
had been mentored in their place of          q   About 75.6 percent of the respon-
employment, 48 percent in education,         dents wished for more networking            discouraging counterpoint:
38 percent through volunteer work, 37        opportunities.
percent through their families, 26
                                             High-Visibility Assignments and
                                                                                         Even with these advantages,
percent in a religious or spiritual
                                             Leadership Training
setting, and 11 percent in other areas.                                                  Asian American and Pacific                15
                                             q   Most respondents (81.6 percent)
     Most mentors mentioned by the
                                             reported working on high-profile or         Islander women still
mainland women who participated in
                                             high-visibility assignments that had
focus groups or interviews were white
                                             helped them advance in their profes-
men and women rather than people of
                                             sions.
                                                                                         experience many challenges
color. An Asian American or Pacific
Islander protégé who has a mentor with       q    Most Asian American and Pacific        to attaining leadership
the same ethnic background, however,         Islander women leaders have gone
may benefit greatly. A senior Asian          through some type of leadership
American faculty member in a study on        training, including at work, in an
                                                                                         positions.
barriers faced by Asian American             educational environment, through
academics in becoming college adminis-       volunteer work, through APAWLI, or in            While the high percentage of Asian
trators said that most of her mentors have   religious or spiritual settings. They       American and Pacific Islander women
been Asian American women because she        listed the following elements of            who have mentors, networking oppor-
shares the most in common with them.         leadership training as most helpful (in     tunities, visible assignments, and
(Numerous personal accounts are              descending order): skills acquisition,      leadership training is an encouraging
provided in the full report.)                self-empowerment, networking and            fact, it also reflects a discouraging
     A Native Hawaiian woman from            peer support.                               counterpoint: Even with these advan-
Southern California observed that                                                        tages, Asian American and Pacific
Hawaiian and Pacific Island leaders                                                      Islander women still experience many
                                                                                         challenges to attaining leadership
                                                                                         positions.
     D.   STUDY PARTICIPANTS                     V.   APAWLI FINDINGS ON THE
                                                                                            Asian American and Pacific
          PERCEIVED THEMSELVES,
                                                      LEADERSHIP STYLES OF ASIAN
          AND ARE PERCEIVED BY OTHERS,
                                                      AMERICAN AND PACIFIC                  Islander women leaders also
          AS LEADERS
                                                      ISLANDER WOMEN
     q    About 96 percent of the question-
                                                                                            spoke of their commitment
                                                      The study examined values held
     naire respondents agreed with the
     statement, “I would call myself a
                                                 by Asian American and Pacific              to an inclusive,
                                                 Islander women leaders and by
     leader.” A slight majority of respon-
                                                 comparison group participants about        collaborative, consensus-
     dents (50.9 percent) agreed greatly with
                                                 certain leadership qualities and found
     the statement, while 44.6 percent agreed
                                                 differences that help explain why the
     somewhat.
                                                 unique qualities of Asian American
                                                                                            building leadership style
     q  Only 4 percent of respondents            and Pacific Islander women are often
     would not call themselves leaders.          overlooked or unappreciated.               rooted in principles,
     q    Many Asian American and Pacific
     Islander women attributed their success     A.   ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC            relationships and an ethic
     to being at the right place at the right         ISLANDER WOMEN SHARE
     time.                                            SIMILAR KEY LEADERSHIP STYLE          of service.
                                                      CHARACTERISTICS WITH
     q   Some said that they became leaders           OTHER LEADERS.
     because other people or circumstances                                                  q   Almost all of the participants
                                                                                            described leadership in terms of
     “forced” them.                              q    Asian American and Pacific
16
                                                                                            bringing people together, building a
     q    About 80.6 percent of question-        Islander women leaders, like their         consensus, and then organizing re-
     naire respondents stated that they had      comparison group counterparts, do          sources to reach a goal.
     received recognition of their leadership    not subscribe to an authoritarian
                                                 model of leadership.                       q    Many saw having a larger vision,
     within their professions.                                                              the ability to communicate this vision,
     q    About 79.4 percent reported            q    Likewise, the two groups agree that   and inspiring others as part of this
     receiving recognition of their leadership   effective leaders have self-awareness,     leadership model. Like the comparison
     within their communities.                   vision, communication skills, empathy,     group participant who endorsed the
                                                 a spiritual foundation, a “hands-on”       servant leadership model, a Japanese
          Surprisingly, more respondents did     style, a willingness to take risks, and    American woman legislator affirmed her
     not strongly identify themselves as         good listening skills.                     commitment to this model, saying that
     leaders, given their high-level positions                                              power comes from the grassroots up.
     and their reputations in the community.     q    Asian American and Pacific
     Continental participants were more          Islander women leaders also spoke of
                                                                                            B.   ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC
     likely than those from Hawai‘i to call      their commitment to an inclusive,
                                                                                                 ISLANDER WOMEN LEADERS HAVE
     themselves leaders.                         collaborative, consensus-building
                                                                                                 SOME LEADERSHIP STYLE
                                                 leadership style rooted in principles,
                                                                                                 CHARACTERISTICS THAT ARE
                                                 relationships and an ethic of service.
                                                                                                 CULTURALLY UNIQUE
                                                 This more closely resembled responses
                                                 of comparison group members from                Many Asian American and Pacific
                                                 Hawai‘i than from the continent.           Islander women participants spoke of
                                                                                            other effective leadership styles that
                                                                                            very few continental comparison group
participants mentioned: (1) The             charge. A union leader said, of the        q    The person who “steps up to the
principled leader, (2) the relationship     ability to create relationship: “This is   plate” when there is a need. Because of
builder, (3) the person who “steps up to    something women in general are skillful    the great needs they saw in their
the plate” when there is a need, and (4)    at and that they feel is important. I      communities, Asian American and
the quiet leader.                           think that creating relationships is a     Pacific Islander women often felt
                                            fundamental ability for a leader. Men      compelled to step up as leaders. An
q    The principled leader. Several Asian
                                            generally do not seem to see relation-     ethnic studies professor rose to the
American and Pacific Islander women         ship-building as a key element of          leadership challenge while she was in
leaders thought that values and prin-       working with others.” Many other           college by starting the first course in
ciples were equally, if not more,           participants emphasized relationship-      Asian American Studies at her college.
important than the process and goals        building in professional circles.          She and her classmates taught them-
for leaders. A Hawaiian nonprofit                                                      selves using curricula from other
executive spoke of having core prin-                                                   schools. Two professors in higher
ciples that are strong and that cannot be
                                            Many Asian American and                    education said that they never set out to
compromised. Along with that strength,                                                 become leaders; they just saw a “waste-
she believed, one also had to have
                                            Pacific Islander women                     land” and they rose to the occasion.
tenacity and resiliency. A CEO of a                                                    They did not have a sense that there
large corporation said, “A manager
                                            leaders believed that a leader             were pioneers; they just did what had to
does things right. A leader does the                                                   be done. A Native Hawaiian woman in
right thing.” She pointed to Corazon
                                            can be someone who brings                  Southern California explained that
Aquino as an example of a person who                                                   when asked how she became the chair
was not a good executive but was a
                                            people together and helps                  of a civic organization, she replies,
good leader. A national nonprofit                                                      “Everyone else took a step back.” In
executive said that for the last 20 years
                                            build relationships rather than            contrast, the comparison group              17

she has practiced principled manage-                                                   participants mentioned such needs less
ment by acting according to the
                                            someone who necessarily                    frequently and generally took more self-
practices and standards she has applied                                                directed paths to leadership. None of
to others. While some women spoke of
                                            takes charge. A union leader               the mainland comparison group
leadership qualities in terms of the                                                   participants thought of themselves as a
courage or strength to stand on
                                            said of the ability to create              “accidental” leaders, whereas several
principles, Congresswoman Patsy Mink                                                   Asian American and Pacific Islander
did not view her role in speaking out
                                            relationships: “This is                    women qualified their perception of
against the Vietnam War as leadership,                                                 themselves as leaders by saying that
but as a moral responsibility and duty.
                                            something women in general                 they merely did what had to be done.
“Duty can’t be shirked. . . You have to                                                q    The quiet leader. Asian American
decide where you stand and have the
                                            are skillful at and that they              and Pacific Islander women leaders,
courage of your convictions to say it,                                                 along with the Hawai‘i comparison
even though you’re all alone.”
                                            feel is important. I think                 group, also recognized a quiet leader-
                                                                                       ship style in which a person convenes
q   The relationship builder. Many Asian    that creating relationships is             people and gets things done but stays in
American and Pacific Islander women
                                                                                       the background. Continental compari-
leaders believed that a leader can be       a fundamental ability for                  son group participants rarely mentioned
someone who brings people together
and helps build relationships rather                                                   this leadership style.
                                            a leader.”
than someone who necessarily takes
     C.   PARTICIPANTS DESCRIBED                 noting, for example, that “Indonesian        A.   NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES POSE
          DIFFERENCES IN THE LEADERSHIP          and Pacific Island cultures do a lot of           ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES
          STYLES BETWEEN PACIFIC                 consensus building.” Another partici-             FOR ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC
          ISLANDER AND ASIAN                     pant thought that Asian American                  ISLANDER WOMEN LEADERS.
          AMERICAN WOMEN.                        women were more competitive, al-                  Both Asian American and Pacific
                                                 though not necessarily in an overt way.      Islander women leaders and the
     q    A history of Hawaiian women leaders.   A Samoan leader of a community
     Many participants thought that within                                                    comparison group participants recog-
                                                 service organization emphasized the          nized that several stereotypes exist that
     the Hawaiian community, there is a          respect that Samoans have for their
     great respect for women. A Hawaiian                                                      have a negative impact on leadership
                                                 elders, and their value for a leadership     prospects and advancement.
     educator pointed to some of the strong      style focused on family, sharing, and
     women in Hawai‘i’s history –                communality rather than individualism.       q     Perpetual foreigner. The “perpetual
     Ka‘ahumanu, Pauahi, and Lili‘uokalani                                                    foreigner” stereotype makes Asian
     – and noted that it is historically and           A woman from Seattle who had           American and Pacific Islander women
     culturally consistent for Hawaiian          interacted with many Pacific Islander        appear less “American” and more
     women leaders to be outspoken and           women leaders noted that it was not          “alien.” Asian Americans and Pacific
     strong. An Asian American legislator        unusual for women to be chiefs in some       Islanders whose families may have lived
     commented that since traditionally in       Pacific Island cultures, so the Asian        in the United States for generations are
     Hawaiian culture the woman is the core      tradition of male dominance did not          still subject to the sentiments that they
     and strength, perhaps the Hawaiian          necessarily apply to them. At the same       are recent immigrants, competitive
     woman faces less of a barrier in            time, though, she also remarked that         foreigners, or loyal to foreign interests.
     emerging as a natural leader within that    Pacific Islander women leaders faced a       Even U.S. Transportation Secretary
     cultural base. A young Asian American       “triple whammy”: being female, Pacific       Norman Y. Mineta, who was born in
     woman remarked that “Hawaiian               Islander, and marginalized within the        the U.S., has been told, “You speak
18
     women come out on top when it comes         Asian Pacific American community. She        English so well.” (Mineta, then-U.S.
     to presence. When a Hawaiian woman          felt that as a result, they had a hard       Commerce Secretary, 1999). Though
     comes into a room, people notice.”          time getting their issues included in the    intended as a compliment, the statement
                                                 Asian Pacific American agenda.               reflects an assumption that a person
     q    Possibly less reserved. Several
     Hawaiian women felt that they were                                                       who looks Asian must be a recent
                                                                                              immigrant. Another example is the
     more expressive with their emotions
     than their Asian counterparts. Several      VI. APAWLI FINDINGS ABOUT
                                                                                              1998 headline from MSNBC’s website
                                                                                              that briefly declared “American beats
     participants thought that Asian Ameri-
                                                     SOCIETAL CHALLENGES FACING               Kwan” when reporting that U.S. figure
     can women leaders were more reserved
                                                     ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC               skater Tara Lipinski had won the gold
     than Pacific Islander women leaders and
                                                     ISLANDER WOMEN LEADERS                   medal, and that teammate Michelle
     seemed more comfortable in one-on-one
     situations and small groups, but some                                                    Kwan had won the silver medal during
                                                      Societal challenges preventing more     the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
     believed that this more reserved style      Asian American and Pacific Islander
     was difficult to translate to larger                                                     The headline implied that Kwan was
                                                 women from attaining leadership              not an American.
     audiences.                                  positions include (a) racial stereotyping,
                                                 (b) gender-based bias, (c) ethnicity-        q   Shy and submissive. The “shy,
     q    More consensus building. One
                                                 based bias, (d) cultural values, (e)         submissive” stereotype jeopardizes
     participant who had spent years in
     Southeast Asia and had worked with          emphasis of the black/white paradigm         Asian American and Pacific Islander
     many Pacific Islanders said she thought     of race relations, (f) immigrant status,     women’s leadership opportunities,
                                                 and (g) lack of recognition and valuing      because, as several participants pointed,
     that there were culturally-based
     differences between those groups,           of culturally- and gender-driven             an Asian American or Pacific Islander
                                                 leadership style characteristics.            woman with a modest, quiet demeanor
AN ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMAN’S LENS




Women in politics said
that gender became
more of a factor as they
advanced to higher
positions because there
are expectations about
how legislators should
look and conduct
themselves. . . In the                                19


educational sector,
research shows that
women continue
to be valued less than
men with respect
to curriculum,
classroom, research,
and advancement
opportunities.
     might be seen as unable to speak up for     responsibility for handling money or        prepared for college than men; and
     herself, “difficult to read” – perhaps an   other resources.                            ongoing gender discrimination in
     echo of the “inscrutable” charge                                                        institutions of higher education.
     sometimes leveled at Asian Americans –      B.   GENDER ALSO POSES
     or lacking in the ability to compete at          CHALLENGES FOR ASIAN                   C.   ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN
     higher management levels.                        AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER               LEADERS, MORE THAN THEIR
     q    Geisha girl. The “geisha girl”
                                                      WOMEN LEADERS.                              PACIFIC ISLANDER
     stereotype trivializes Asian American                                                        COUNTERPARTS, FELT ETHNICITY
                                                 q    About 63.3 percent of the question-         WAS A BARRIER TO LEADERSHIP.
     and Pacific Islander women. Although        naire respondents agreed that gender
     none of the comparison group partici-       had a negative impact on their leader-      q    Split on ethnicity as barrier. Ques-
     pants mentioned the stereotype, the         ship development.                           tionnaire respondents split on almost a
     media portrayal of Asian American and                                                   50-50 basis on the question of whether
     Pacific Islander women as sexual objects    q  Different expectations about men and
                                                                                             their ethnicity was a barrier to leader-
     affects how they are perceived in the       women. The differences between men
                                                 and women in how they lead, the             ship. About 50.5 percent agreed that it
     larger society. Of course, sexual                                                       was a barrier, while 48 percent dis-
     objectification in the workplace is a       disproportionate burden of family
                                                                                             agreed.
     barrier that is not unique to Asian         responsibilities on women, the double
     American and Pacific Islander women.        standard in mainstream expectations of      q    Ethnicity not a barrier for Hawai‘i
                                                 men and women, and the need to work         participants. Participants from Hawai‘i
     q    Dragon lady. At the other end of the
                                                 harder than men were all factors            generally did not see their ethnicity as a
     spectrum from the “shy geisha girl”         mentioned by the participants. Women        barrier to leadership. The 63.8 percent
     stereotype is an image of Asian Ameri-      in politics said that gender became more    who stated that ethnicity was not a
     can and Pacific Islander women as
                                                 of a factor as they advanced to higher      barrier attributed their belief to living in
20   fierce, vicious “dragon ladies.” This       positions because there are expectations    a multicultural environment where
     stereotype seems to have originated and     about how legislators should look and       Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
     been perpetuated in popular media. A        conduct themselves. The same behavior       form the majority of the population.
     1924 film, The Thief of Baghdad,            is sometimes seen as “strong and            Many women noted that Asian Ameri-
     featured a Chinese American actress         tough” in a man but “bitchy” in a           can and Pacific Islander men in Hawai‘i
     who “played a handmaid who                  woman. In the educational sector,           had overcome barriers to leadership in
     employed treachery to help an evil          research shows that women continue to       earlier generations. One Asian Ameri-
     Mongol prince attempt to win the            be valued less than men with respect to     can woman commented that the
     hand of the Princess of Baghdad.” In        curriculum, classroom, research, and        Hawaiian culture, which forms the basis
     the comic strip Terry and the Pirates, a    advancement opportunities.                  for “local” culture, has made Hawai‘i a
     “dragon lady” character was intro-                                                      more welcoming place for many
     duced in 1934. A more recent example        q    Education pipeline. A recent study
                                                                                             different cultures and ethnicities.
     of the stereotype is the role of Ling, a    explained that the educational pipeline
     ruthless and seductive lawyer, in the       for Asian Americans and Pacific             q    Ethnicity a barrier for continental
     television show Ally McBeal.                Islanders is constricted by gender. The     participants. Many continental partici-
                                                 study revealed the continuing influence     pants, 59.4 percent, saw their ethnicity
     q   Pacific Islander stereotypes. Two
                                                 of the view that women belong in the        as a barrier to their ability to act as
     comparison group members talked             home and that too much education            leaders. This was almost the reverse of
     about a stereotype specifically pertinent
                                                 jeopardizes their marriage prospects; the   the response of the participants from
     to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific       expectation among immigrant families        Hawai‘i. Though the mainland
     Islanders: warm, gentle, music-loving,      that girls will assume more household       interviewees often reported that their
     “overly” generous people who thus are
                                                 responsibilities than boys; gender          ethnicity had had a negative impact
     not appropriate for positions of            stereotyping that leaves women less         on their ability to act as leaders, many
women felt it was impossible to             q   Hawai‘i respondents. A higher           American male from the comparison
separate the impacts of gender and          percentage of questionnaire respondents     group noted that while in America “the
ethnicity. As one participant put it,       from Hawai‘i (71.5 percent) disagreed       squeaky wheel gets the oil,” in Asian
an Asian American or Pacific Islander       with the statement that cultural values     cultures, the “nail that sticks out gets
woman has two strikes against her,          were a hindrance, with 46.2 percent         pounded down.”
gender and not being white, and it is       disagreeing greatly. One Asian male         q    Unrealistic expectations. Some noted
even more difficult for her if she has      comparison group member from                that the larger Asian American and
a family.                                   Hawai‘i said he believed that Hawaiian      Pacific Islander community sometimes
                                            women have a power and depth of             has unrealistic expectations of leaders
D.   THE IMPACT OF CULTURAL VALUES          understanding of culture and values.        and fails to provide a support network
     ON ADVANCEMENT DREW MIXED,             q   “Good girls and “good daughters.”       for them. Worse, the “crab pot mental-
     AND OFTEN CONTRADICTORY,               Many participants mentioned that they       ity” pulls down an Asian American and
     RESPONSES.                             were expected to be “good girls” and        Pacific Islander leader instead of pulling
q    Ambivalence about impact of cultural
                                            “good daughters” by being obedient,         her up to the next level.
values. A majority of questionnaire
                                            setting aside their own desires and needs
respondents (60.3 percent) disagreed        for the benefit of their family or to       E.   ISOLATION AND THE BLACK/WHITE
with the statement that traditional         please their parents. At times, this has         EMPHASIS OF RACE RELATIONS
cultural values hindered their leadership   led to unfortunate choices in schools,           HINDER ACCEPTANCE OF ASIAN
development. The statement elicited         careers and spouses or has resulted in           AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER
some ambivalence, though, with              lost opportunities.                              WOMEN AS LEADERS.
roughly one-third of respondents            q    Fighting stereotypes. A few Asian
                                                                                        q    Isolation. Asian American and
agreeing somewhat, another third            American and Pacific Islander women
                                                                                        Pacific Islander women leaders from the
disagreeing somewhat and another third      leaders mentioned that they had to fight    continent were more likely than Hawai‘i      21
greatly disagreeing about the impact of     the “quiet, obedient” stereotype that       participants to mention isolation and
cultural values. Many respondents           exists in Asian culture by being aggres-    being caught in the black/white para-
identified cultural-based stereotypes and   sive, loud and demanding, sometimes to      digm. Those who came from areas with
expectations of their families that have    the point of overcompensation. Al-          relatively few people of color felt more
challenged their development as leaders.    though the “shy, submissive” image          isolated and sometimes encountered
Several mentioned that some of those        may be an unfair stereotype, many of        instances of subtle, or even blatant,
same cultural values have made them         the Asian American and Pacific Island-      discrimination. They were, however,
more effective leaders.                     ers admitted that there is some truth       more likely to be acculturated to
                                            behind this stereotype. One legislator      mainstream American society, which
“Growing up with the traditional values     labeled it as the “Asian woman thing,”
of my culture has hindered my being                                                     may help them better navigate the
                                            staying in the background, promoting        corporate and organizational structure.
a leader.”
                                            others, and not taking credit.
                                                                                        q     Being overlooked. Other participants
6.4 % Agree greatly                         q   Sacrifices. Some mentioned the
                                                                                        felt that their needs and issues were
                                            sacrifices they made to support their
                                                                                        often overlooked because the emphasis
32.6% Agree somewhat                        husbands or brothers at the expense of      on race relations in American is on
                                            their own advancement.                      blacks and whites. This has had a
31.1% Disagree somewhat                     q    Opposing values and rewards            detrimental effect in many areas,
                                            systems. Others mentioned the difficulty    including research, public policy,
29.2% Disagree greatly                      of navigating between two cultures that     political empowerment, philanthropy,
                                            at times have opposing values and           and media coverage. It has motivated
                                            reward systems. For example, an Asian       some Asian American and Pacific
     Islander women leaders to become             were not valued as highly as other       q     Not “change agents.” Generally Asian
     advocates for the larger Asian American      attributes that they associate with      American and Pacific Islander women
     and Pacific Islander community. This         leadership. An Asian American or         leaders do not see themselves as “change
     advocacy, however, has its drawbacks.        Pacific Islander woman who is skilled    agents.” In contrast, several comparison
     A few participants mentioned the             at building relationships and bringing   group participants highlighted the role of
     burden of being the only one, or one of      people together to meet a need, yet      a leader as a “change agent,” that is,
     a few, in certain leadership circles. They   who stays in the background without      someone who can help transform the
     felt stressed by having to represent         seeking recognition, may not be          workplace environment. This was rarely
     women, minorities, and Asian Ameri-          recognized as a leader. Those who        mentioned by the Asian American and
     cans and Pacific Islanders.                                                           Pacific Islander women participants.
                                                  have an understated leadership style
           Sometimes, Asian Americans and                                                  Perhaps, given the near invisibility of
                                                  may be erroneously perceived as
     Pacific Islanders have been viewed as                                                 Asian American and Pacific Islander
                                                  lacking in self-confidence.
     closer to whites in the black/white                                                   women at the most important leadership
     paradigm. A few participants who grew                                                 circles and their consequent lack of
     up in almost all-white neighborhoods                                                  power, it is not surprising that they do
     noticed that they experienced much less      Asian American and Pacific               not perceive themselves as instruments
     discrimination than African Americans                                                 for change within their organizations. It
     in the same neighborhood. In some            Islander women leaders who               is significant that the only Asian
     instances, they believed that whites did                                              American and Pacific Island woman
     not even view them as minorities.            do not seek recognition are              who spoke of her ability to turn around
                                                                                           poorly performing organizations was
     F.   IMMIGRANTS ARE EVEN LESS                                                         the CEO of a corporation.
          LIKELY TO BE IN MANAGEMENT OR
                                                  perceived as less effective
          LEADERSHIP POSITIONS.
                                                  than the assertive, risk-taking
22
          Immigrant status. Asian American
     women who are immigrants (approxi-
                                                                                           VII. APAWLI FINDINGS ABOUT
                                                  leader archetype of the                       INDIVIDUAL CHALLENGES
     mately 60 percent of all Asian Ameri-
     cans) are less likely to be in manage-                                                     FACING ASIAN AMERICAN
     ment or leadership jobs than those born
                                                  dominant culture. The                         AND PACIFIC ISLANDER
     in the U.S.                                                                                WOMEN LEADERS
                                                  humility, sensitivity, nurturing
     G.   ASIAN AMERICAN OR PACIFIC                                                             Individual challenges preventing
          ISLANDER WOMEN HAVE SOME                ability and listening ability that       more Asian American and Pacific
          LEADERSHIP STYLES THAT ARE                                                       Islander women from attaining leader-
                                                                                           ship positions include (a) reluctance to
          UNDERVALUED OR NOT                      some non-AA/PI participants              claim leadership positions, and (b)
          RECOGNIZED.
                                                                                           ambivalence about wielding power.
     q    Understated leadership style. Asian
                                                  attributed to Asian American
     American and Pacific Islander women                                                   A.   MANY ASIAN AMERICAN AND
     leaders who do not seek recognition are      and Pacific Islander women                    PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN ARE
     perceived as less effective than the                                                       RELUCTANT TO CLAIM LEADERSHIP
     assertive, risk-taking leader archetype of   were not valued as highly as                  POSITIONS.
     the current culture. The humility,
     sensitivity, nurturing ability and                                                    q    Right place at the right time. Many
                                                  other attributes that they               Asian American and Pacific Islander
     listening ability that some non-AA/PI
     participants attributed to Asian                                                      women interviewed, especially pioneers,
     American and Pacific Islander women          associate with leadership.               attributed their success to being at the
right place at the right time. A few          q    Contradicting core values. Given the    seeking and utilizing power to achieve
mentioned that they were not purposely        beliefs and self-perceptions of the          their goals. Most qualified their answers
seeking to be a leader but that circum-       women leaders in this study, their           by saying that power itself is not an end
stances or other people forced them to        discomfort with wielding power is not        but a means to achieve their objectives
become a leader to meet a need or correct     surprising because the definition            and should be used wisely and fairly.
an injustice. A Hawai‘i participant who       appears to contradict their core values.
had attained national recognition said it     Asian American and Pacific Islander
felt “odd” to be seen in the role of a
leader by other Asian Americans because
                                              women in leadership positions seem
                                              conscious of the potential conflict and
                                                                                           VIII.STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME
she had not had to fight the same             yet persevere. A senior executive at a            INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETAL
discrimination battles as those on the U.S.   gas company noted that Asian Ameri-
continent. Several women, including a                                                           CHALLENGES TO ASIAN
                                              can and Pacific Islander women must be            AMERICAN AND PACIFIC
Chinese American lawyer and a Native
                                              alert to the “trappings (privileges) of           ISLANDER WOMEN’S
Hawaiian government leader, told of their
                                              power”; otherwise they might be                   LEADERSHIP
sense of surprise or “shock” when they
                                              perceived as weak. A high-ranking
discovered that others viewed them as
                                              political appointee warned that Asian             This study found that Asian
leaders. A pioneer in the political arena
                                              American and Pacific Islander women          American and Pacific Islander women
said that adversity drove her to excel, but
half of her success was due to good luck      who do not take stock of their power         enjoy some advantages, including
and timing.                                   and feel comfortable wielding it to          having the highest median income and
                                              achieve their goals are not only missing     the highest educational attainment
q    Humility. In contrast, few compari-      an important tool but may be chal-           among women. As discussed above,
son group participants mentioned luck         lenged more often by others because          however, those achievements are
or timing as a significant factor in their                                                 eclipsed by the near invisibility of Asian
                                              they are perceived as naïve and ineffec-
leadership development. Many seemed                                                        American and Pacific Islander women at       23
                                              tive leaders. She also encouraged
to attribute their success to their own                                                    the upper levels of the four sectors
                                              women to use their power to “push the
leadership qualities. The reluctance of                                                    examined by this study and by the
                                              envelope” because they can take more
Asian American and Pacific Islander
                                              risks than more junior women or              challenges they face in advancing to
women leaders to take credit for their
                                              minorities. She also suggested that if       greater leadership roles. Both the Asian
leadership may be a sign of humility or
                                              there is a power vacuum, Asian               American and Pacific Islander women
an acknowledgement that luck and
                                              American and Pacific Islander women          leaders and the comparison group
timing must play an important role if
                                              should seize the opportunity and             participants shared valuable strategies
they are to overcome the barriers they
                                              assume power.                                to overcome these individual and
face to advance in their careers.
                                                                                           societal challenges. There are also some
                                              q    Missed opportunities. A few women
                                                                                           broader social trends that may affect the
B.   THE BELIEFS AND SELF-                    mentioned that, in retrospect, sometime      future development of Asian American
     PERCEPTIONS OF ASIAN AMERICAN            in their careers, they missed out on         and Pacific Islander women leaders.
     AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMEN               opportunities to exercise power and
     LEADERS CAN LEAD TO                      influence. One high-ranking political        A.   INDIVIDUAL STRATEGIES
     AMBIVALENCE ABOUT                        appointee realized in retrospect that she
     WIELDING POWER.                          could have been appointed to a much          1. Adapt personal traits to the environ-
     Power may be defined as “the             higher position earlier in the administra-   ment. In general, Asian American and
potential ability to influence behavior,      tion if she had been more assertive          Pacific Islander women perceived
to change the course of events, to            about what she wanted.                       themselves, and are perceived by others,
overcome resistance, and to get people             In contrast, many of the compari-       as self-motivated, methodical, hard
to do things that they would not              son group participants who addressed         working, reliable, and driven to
otherwise do.”                                this issue seemed more comfortable           excellence. This study does not suggest
     that Asian American and Pacific           2.   Take risks and visible assignments.       and Pacific Islander women also
     Islander women leaders must change        Asian American and Pacific Islander            recognize this as a challenge for
     their core values and personalities or    women can benefit from taking more             themselves. A recent study confirmed
     abandon important cultural influ-         risks and being more alert to opportuni-       this with its finding that Asian Ameri-
     ences. Many participants mentioned,       ties for visible or special assignments that   can women, more than the other
     however, that they had had to adapt in    can raise their profile within their           women of color corporate managers,
     order to advance to leadership circles.   organization. Several corporate executives     cited communication style as a chal-
     For example, many Asian American          noted that being selected by their             lenge to career advancement.
     and Pacific Islander women leaders        superiors for a visible or challenging              To be more effective leaders, some
                                                                                              participants suggested learning to speak
     expressed their reluctance to speak up    assignment was an important stepping
                                                                                              the “male language” at work and
     at meetings unless they have some-        stone to their advancement. A Japanese
                                                                                              making adjustments to their manage-
     thing “important” to say, to promote      American elected official described taking
                                                                                              ment style. They were quick to empha-
     themselves openly, make demands on        risks as the single most important factor      size that this did not mean compromis-
     their superiors, claim credit for their   in her leadership advancement.                 ing their values but instead meant
     hard work, or confront conflict           3. Challenge stereotypes. A computer           adapting themselves to their audience so
     directly. Yet, a Chinese professor said   programmer, born in China and raised           that they could be heard.
     that in order to be a leader in the       in Taiwan, said that part of her job was       5.   Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses.
     academic field, you must speak up.        to edit paperwork by engineers who             Several comparison group participants
     She noted that “in meetings, even if      were predominantly American-born,              and Asian American and Pacific Islander
     [they] have nothing to say, mainstream    white males. On her evaluation, her            women leaders suggested that leaders
     people say something. It’s like station   supervisor noted that she needed to            should assess their strengths and weak-
     identification.” Another academic         improve her English and grammar. She           nesses, seek help to work through their
     said, “I had to make myself talk when     challenged that assessment by showing          weaknesses, not just be “worker bees,”
24   I realized that I knew so much more       him the paperwork done by the                  and be proactive about asking for help or
     than everyone else in the room.”          American-born engineers and the final          support from others.
          Comparison group participants        product that she had corrected. He then
     tended to believe that many of the        crossed out his misplaced criticism. She
     challenges facing Asian American and      said that people just look at her face         A common theme
     Pacific Islander women are societal and   and name and automatically think that
     may be remedied over time. At the same    she cannot speak English well and list         emphasized by the
     time, though, they also focused on        that down as a limitation because they
     internal challenges including the need
     for Asian American and Pacific Islander
                                               have not been able to find anything else       participants was the need
                                               wrong with her performance.
     women to be more assertive, visible,
     and engaged inside and outside of their   4.   Improve communication skills. Good        for Asian American and
     work environment. Perhaps this            communication skills, including the
     suggestion reflects the actual experi-    ability to be a good listener, was             Pacific Islander women to
     ences of the comparison group partici-    mentioned by almost all of the Asian
     pants with Asian American and Pacific     American and Pacific Islander women            invest in themselves by
     Islander women, but it also emphasizes    and comparison group participants as
                                               important characteristics of a leader. In
     that comparison group participants
                                               describing the traits of Asian American
                                                                                              participating in leadership
     value assertiveness more than Asian
     American and Pacific Islander women       and Pacific Islander women leaders,
     leaders do.                               though, only a few comparison group            development, networking,
                                               participants described the women as
                                               good communicators. Asian American             and mentoring.
6. Invest in Leadership Training, Network-   the comparison group participants and        political antennae, and finding champi-
ing and Mentoring. A common theme            those of the Asian American and Pacific      ons within the organization. A Japanese
emphasized by the participants was the       Islander women leaders confirm this. As      American elected official felt that Asian
need for Asian American and Pacific          some of the participants mentioned,          American and Pacific Islander women
Islander women to invest in themselves by    change is slow because the establish-        need to “understand the ground rules
participating in leadership development,     ment does not give up power easily,          and play the game” as well as, or better
networking, and mentoring. In addition,      women and people of color are the            than, everyone else does. Others
Asian American and Pacific Islander          “new kids on the block,” and their           emphasized the need to “redefine
women focused on strategies that went        numbers are small. The “old boys             leadership” whenever possible and not
beyond personal development and              network” is alive and well, and the          just conform to the prevailing norm.
advancement, including gaining visibility    “girls network” is still in its youth.            Several participants warned that
for the Asian American and Pacific                                                        excellent work alone would not take
Islander community as a whole, building                                                   women to the highest levels of manage-
                                             1. Promote “Undervalued” Leadership          ment. Some found it effective to (a)
coalitions, and documenting the stories of   Qualities. Cracks in the glass ceiling may
community pioneers.                                                                       hitch their career to “rising stars” in the
                                             be slow in coming. Nevertheless,             company; (b) learn to identify who has
     As previously noted, most of the        participants in the study identified some
participants had undergone some type                                                      authority to make decisions that can
                                             ways in which Asian American and             affect their welfare; (c) be alert to the
of leadership training. Many were now        Pacific Islander women leaders can
mentoring or advising younger women.                                                      changing political landscape, especially
                                             accelerate the pace of organizational        with the increased number of mergers,
A pioneer in the political arena said that   transformation. One way is to talk
her greatest accomplishment is                                                            downsizing, and dislocations in
                                             about the impact of the undervalued          corporate America; and (d) emulate
mentoring over 100 people in her             leadership qualities on worker produc-       effective leaders within the organization
political career – a new generation of       tivity and the organization’s welfare.            Some have argued that it is not just
Asian American and Pacific Islander          For example, the women could recog-
                                                                                                                                        25
                                                                                          the glass ceiling that holds women back
leaders. The high percentage of partici-     nize and reward the “invisible” work of      but the whole organizational structure.
pants who had been mentored reflects         building relationships, convening            Gender bias may be embedded in work
their understanding that career advance-     people, mediating conflicts, engaging in     practices, cultural norms, and images
ment depends not only on their develop-      informal mentoring, boosting morale,         that appear unbiased, such as the
ment of leadership skills but also on        building teamwork, and preventing            definitions of competence, commitment,
sponsors who vocally support and             crises. This work often goes on “be-         and leadership. For example, the
promote them.                                hind-the-scenes” but is nevertheless         entrepreneurial culture of the informa-
                                             important to the efficiency and efficacy     tion technology industry encourages
B.   ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES               of organizations. Leading by example,        informal meetings where managers
     As previously discussed above, the      Asian American and Pacific Islander          provide input and protect their turf.
management style of some Asian               women may be able to convince their          These meetings often occur after
American and Pacific Islander women          peers and superiors that these abilities     working hours, which presents a
centers on cooperative approaches to         are just as valuable as the highly visible   problem for some women who have
problem-solving and is better suited to      forms of leadership.                         family responsibilities. In addition, the
the team-oriented leadership model of                                                     information technology industry is
                                             2.   Learn to Navigate the Workplace. Just
the 21st century. Nevertheless, the pace                                                  prone to a crisis atmosphere, so
                                             as some women advised other women to
of change in corporate boardrooms,                                                        managers who are available at all times
                                             speak the “male language,” some
legislative assemblies, academic                                                          are rewarded. Again, this is a disadvan-
                                             believed that learning to navigate the       tage for women, because they often
enclaves, and foundation circles is          workplace culture is essential to moving
gradual. Discrepancies between the                                                        carry a disproportionate burden of
                                             up in the organization. This may             family responsibilities.
leadership qualities deemed valuable by      involve recruiting mentors, developing
     AN ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER WOMAN’S LENS




     A Japanese American
     elected official felt that
     Asian American and
     Pacific Islander women
     need to “understand
26   the ground rules and
     play the game” as well
     as, or better than,
     everyone else does.
     Others emphasized the
     need to “redefine
     leadership” whenever
     possible and not just
     conform to the
     prevailing norm.
      Several women from the for-profit      q    Globalization offers possibilities to   Islander women leaders in this study
sector explained that in order to succeed    provide leadership in linking the U.S.       found programs tailored to their
in their organizations, they felt a need     and the cultures of the Asia-Pacific         experiences to be most effective.
to manage others’ perceptions of them.       region.
For example, one said she would never                                                     B.   DEVELOP MORE PEER-TO-PEER
tell her colleagues that she was leaving     q   When equal opportunity is also
                                             present, the advent of the new economy            SHARING.
the office to attend her child’s soccer
game; she would simply say that she          may offer opportunities for Asian                 Some participants suggested the
had an appointment outside the office.       American and Pacific Islanders women         development of peer-to-peer sharing
By managing perceptions, women can           with high professional technical skills.     programs that can be geared to senior
protect their privacy as well as prevent     q    Workforce diversity and diversity       women from the same sectors or
their superiors from having an excuse to     initiatives may aid Asian American and       geographical region. An example of a
consider them less committed to work.        Pacific Islander women to increase their     successful program is the National
3. Support Leadership Training, Network-     leadership role within organizations.        Leadership Conference of Women
ing and Mentoring. Comparison group                                                       Executives in State Government. Their
                                             q    Greater involvement in the political    leadership training program is done
participants echoed much of what the
                                             process will open up more leadership         primarily through peer-to-peer sharing,
women leaders themselves said about the
importance of leadership training,           channels for Asian Americans and             with old hands sharing what they have
networking and mentoring. Asian              Pacific Islander women, particularly in      learned with new arrivals. Through this
American and Pacific Islander women          terms of the electorate, number of           organization, new arrivals had instant
need to build a pipeline of leaders, start   elected officials, the potential to          access to knowledge and resources that
leadership development with young girls,     influence elections through bloc and         often took the old hands years to
and invest in themselves by getting          swing votes, and for Native Hawaiians,       develop. The organization’s mission was
leadership training. The comparison          the process of determining their form of     to have each woman learn “how to
                                             sovereignty.                                                                              27
group participants also pointed to social                                                 arrive, survive and thrive” in the top
changes as a way for Asian American and                                                   jobs. Members moved up the pipeline to
Pacific Islander women leaders to gain                                                    run larger cabinet agencies and win
more visible leadership roles. They
believed that desirable changes will occur   IX.  THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP
                                                                                          statewide offices, including officials
                                                                                          such as current New Jersey Governor
naturally over time as consensual                                                         Christine Todd Whitman and former
                                                  TRAINING PROGRAMS IN THE
leadership becomes the norm for top                                                       Texas Governor Ann Richards. In only
                                                  ADVANCEMENT OF ASIAN
corporate managers and as the Asian
                                                  AMERICAN AND PACIFIC                    10 years, the number of women holding
American and Pacific Islander community
                                                  ISLANDER WOMEN LEADERS                  top executive branch posts in state
matures socially and politically and the
                                                                                          governments increased from 10 percent
number of U.S.-born leaders in the
                                             A.   SUPPORT AND UTILIZE                     to over 20 percent after the 1992
community increases.
                                                  LEADERSHIP TRAINING                     general elections.
                                                  PROGRAMS.
C.   SOME SOCIAL TRENDS MAY
     AFFECT THE FUTURE                            Leadership training programs play       C.   DEVELOP MORE MENTORING
     DEVELOPMENT OF ASIAN                    a critical role not only in preparing             PROGRAMS.
     AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER           women to be at leadership tables but              As stated before, 71.2 percent of the
     WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP.                     also in educating the public about the       questionnaire respondents had been
                                             diversity of the Asian American and          mentored by someone. While Asian
q    Asian American and Pacific              Pacific Islander women population and        American and Pacific Islander women
Islander women’s leadership qualities        the challenges that face them as they        have benefited from mentoring, they have
are well-suited to the evolving leader-
                                             advance to more visible positions of         fewer role models and people to whom
ship trend toward a more inclusive,
                                             leadership. Asian American and Pacific       they can turn for advice as they advance.
collaborative process.
          Many participants urged Asian           American and Pacific Islander women’s         ers could consider undertaking the
     American and Pacific Island women to         perspectives are included at all levels of    following projects:
     share their experiences with others and      discussion and decision-making. They
     to mentor younger women coming up            recognized that Asian American and            1. Obtain Disaggregated Data on the
     through the ranks. Factors to consider       Pacific Islander communities in general,      Asian American and Pacific Islander
     in designing the program include the         and Asian American and Pacific Islander       Community and Women, Ethnic Groups,
     small number of Asian American and           women in particular, are “invisible” on a     and Multiracial Persons Within the
     Pacific Islander women leaders at higher     national level.                               Community. The study made apparent
     levels in all four sectors, the wide                                                       the dearth of data on the Asian Ameri-
     geographic distribution of Asian             E.   DEVELOP A PIPELINE.                      can and Pacific Islander community as a
     American and Pacific Islander women                                                        whole, and on the women and the
     outside of California and Hawai‘i, the            Some participants suggested that
                                                                                                ethnic groups within the community. At
     disparities between the more established     leadership training outreach include
                                                                                                times, the data lumped all minorities
     and more recent Asian ethnic groups,         more women at entry level or junior
                                                                                                together; at other times, statistics were
     and the low numbers of Asian American        levels to help build a pipeline that can
                                                                                                available only for African Americans
     and Pacific Islander women in general        provide a continuous source of Asian
                                                                                                and Hispanics. Even when data on the
     across different industry sectors.           American and Pacific Islander women
                                                                                                Asian American and Pacific Islander
          One executive mentoring program         leaders. Others suggested the need for a
                                                                                                community were available, data on
     for women in the computer science field      clearinghouse for corporate board
                                                                                                women were often not disaggregated
     identified certain elements for successful   membership referrals, political appoint-
                                                                                                from the whole. Further, the need for
     mentoring programs: (1) regular              ments, foundation trustee recommenda-
                                                                                                disaggregated data on multiracial
     interactions between mentor and              tions, and judicial nominations to help
                                                                                                persons is growing because that
     protégé; (2) mentor’s commitment             elevate Asian American and Pacific
                                                                                                population group continues to grow.
     toward success; (3) mutual respect           Islander women to more visible
28
     between mentor and protégé; (4)              positions of leadership.                      2. Study Marginalized Groups Within the
     mentor’s willingness to provide oppor-                                                     Asian American and Pacific Islander
     tunities and visibility to the protégé if    F.   DOCUMENT OUR HISTORY.                    Community. Because of their longer
     they worked in the same work group;                                                        histories in the U.S., Chinese Americans
                                                      A CEO of a venture fund suggested
     (5) mentor’s willingness to share his or                                                   and Japanese Americans have been
                                                  documenting the experiences of
     her network of contacts and other                                                          studied much more than other ethnic
                                                  pioneers and trailblazers and sharing it
     resources if mentor and protégé did not                                                    groups within the Asian American and
                                                  on a multigenerational basis. Similarly,
     work in the same line of business; (6)                                                     Pacific Islander community. Research on
                                                  a South Asian American woman
     mentor’s willingness to advocate for the                                                   other groups whose characteristics,
                                                  advocated learning from the first- and
     protégé’s interest with her superiors if                                                   experiences, and needs are not as well
                                                  second-generation women in the
     they came from different work groups;                                                      known is especially needed. Persons of
                                                  community.
     and (7) mentor and protégé being                                                           Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and
     associated in the minds of others so it                                                    Vietnamese ancestry have been studied
     was clear that the protégé had a                                                           infrequently, if at all; and the need for
     “sponsor” within the company.                X.   FURTHER STUDY NEEDED
                                                                                                data on Native Hawaiians is particu-
                                                                                                larly acute in view of the current debate
     D.   INCREASE VISIBILITY OF ASIAN                                                          on sovereignty for their community.
          AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER                 Time and resource constraints limited
                                                  collection of original data. Nevertheless,    3. Conduct Longitudinal Studies of Asian
          WOMEN LEADERS.                                                                        American and Pacific Islander Women
                                                  this study provides a springboard for
         Several participants spoke of the        future research and debate about ways to      Leaders. Most of the information
     need for good public relations and media     advance Asian American and Pacific            presented in this report provides a mere
     coverage, especially to ensure that Asian    Islander women leaders. Future research-      snapshot of Asian American and Pacific
Islander women leaders. For greater
insights into the particular factors that     XI. FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
                                                                                           especially in such areas as asking for –
                                                                                           and giving – feedback, selling ideas and
affect a woman’s career advancement, it                                                    keeping others aware of accomplish-
                                                  AND CONCLUSIONS
would be helpful to follow the progress                                                    ments. The women can better position
of a group of Asian American and                   Experienced Asian American and          themselves so that whenever possible
Pacific Islander women leaders over a         Pacific Islander women can turn chal-        they can work in their areas of talent.
number of years.                                                                           They may want to set up their own
                                              lenges into opportunities, by viewing
                                                                                           “advisory board” or personal “board
4.    Build on This Report. This report       challenges as invitations to make change.
                                                                                           of directors,” comprised of people
may serve as a benchmark for future           These women have discovered important
                                                                                           from diverse levels, functions and
research on some of the topics it covers.     strategies to advance ethical, caring and
                                                                                           backgrounds in areas that are impor-
In particular, other researchers can build    compassionate leadership, and they have
                                                                                           tant to them.
on these following areas: (a) study the       shared some of these approaches in this
sectors in more detail, particularly the      study. Some strategies are aimed at          q    Change the environment. Advance
nonprofit sector and K-12 education;          organizations, some at women as              inclusiveness and create an environment
(b) expand the study of Asian American        individuals. The following are seven         where Asian American and Pacific
and Pacific Islander women to other           recommendations:                             Islander women’s cultural differences –
cities; (c) compare the results of this                                                    including their commitment to an
study to data on other women of color.        q    Do the research. Acknowledge areas      inclusive, collaborative, consensus-
                                              of ignorance, whether of the Asian           building leadership style – are perceived
5. Document the Experiences of Asian
                                              American and Pacific Islander popula-        as a “value-added” resource, rather
American and Pacific Islander Women           tion that is served by the organization      than a hindrance, to organizations.
Trailblazers and Pioneers. Several            or of the Asian American and Pacific         Through training and other experiences,
participants recommended that future          Islander women within the organiza-          provide employers and co-workers with
researchers interview the trailblazing        tion, including their career histories and   cultural savvy – that is, knowledge and     29
women in our community, document              perceptions of opportunity for advance-      understanding and exposure – so that
their experiences, honor their contribu-      ment. Identify key resources that will       they can better understand and utilize
tions, and share their stories.               help answer key questions and provide        leadership styles that the women can
6. Chronicle the Work of Asian American       important contacts in the community,         bring to organizations. This requires
and Pacific Islander Women in Advancing       and develop relationships with the           identifying, understanding, and then
Social Justice. Along similar lines, future   community, paying particular attention       going beyond, existing leadership paths
research can focus on stories of contem-      to under-represented segments of the         and strategies. Creating innovative ways
porary Asian American and Pacific             Asian American and Pacific Islander          to bring in and support these new faces,
Islander women leaders who are                community to ensure that opportunities       voices and experiences in leadership
working to advance the cause of social        are shared.                                  ranks means operating from the
justice and equality. Many other women        q    “Know thyself.” Asian American and      perspective of Asian American and
whose stories have not been told have         Pacific Islander women can objectively       Pacific Islander women.
played critical roles in shaping the          assess the “cultural gap” between            q   Recognize accomplishments.
response of the Asian American and            themselves and the organizations in          Celebrate accomplishments, and thereby
Pacific Islander community to water-          which they seek to operate. In the           help end invisibility. Those women
shed events and issues.                       course of learning about themselves,         already in leadership positions can
                                              they can also identify and implement         communicate success stories and
                                              strategies that will close that gap while    provide recognition especially of the
                                              allowing them to maintain their own          “undervalued” styles of the “principled
                                              cultural integrity. This may mean            leader,” the “relationship builder,” the
                                              sharpening communication skills,             person who “steps up to the plate,” the
     “quiet leader.” While Asian American       others; taking risks; going after higher
     and Pacific Islander women themselves      visibility assignments; becoming more
     generally may not “value” recognition,     adaptable in different environments.
     it is a valuable tool through which to          Most challenges to leadership –
     provide opportunities for others.          whether organizational or individual –
     q    Mentor and be mentored. Create
                                                are about vision, capacity to move
     many pipelines. Each sector – non-         others to believe in that vision, and
     profit, profit, government and educa-      compassion for those who fear taking
     tion – has a particular culture that       action. These are the very qualities that
     Asian American and Pacific Islander        Asian American and Pacific Islander
     women must navigate and help trans-        women have identified as their leader-
     form. Given the low numbers in             ship strengths.
     leadership positions in every sector,           So, what happens next? Individual
     collaboration is the key. Those Asian      Asian American and Pacific Islander
     American and Pacific Islander women        women have certain options; organiza-
     already in those positions can also        tions have others. For those responsible
     mentor others to ensure that there is a    for shaping events that will affect Asian
     steady source of women identified to       American and Pacific Islander women
     lead and prepared to lead.                 and girls, the opportunities for action
                                                are many. The Asian Pacific American
     q    Use this study as a benchmark. This   Women’s Leadership Institute commits
     study represents the first national        to do the following:
     survey ever conducted on leadership
     and Asian American and Pacific             1.   Continue to offer its premier,
30
     Islander women. While it serves as a       culturally-based Leadership Fellowship
     benchmark of what exists, there is still   program.
     so much more to learn about how to         2.   Explore producing a new program
     advance Asian American and Pacific         for emerging women leaders.
     Islander women’s leadership.               3.   Provide information to anyone
     q   Be courageous. To bring about          interested in knowing more about Asian
     change and to integrate its lessons        American and Pacific Islander women
     requires courage on the part of organi-    and leadership.
     zations and individual Asian American      4.   Hold regional workshops that will
     and Pacific Islander women. For            reach more Asian American and Pacific
     organizations, it may mean setting goals
                                                Islander women who want to explore
     and tracking results; holding managers     the meaning of leadership and how it
     and supervisors accountable for results;   applies to their lives.
     putting resources into leadership
     training; or looking more globally at      5.  Create clarity and consistency
     how Asian American and Pacific             around the values of ethical, caring and
     Islander women’s leadership qualities      compassionate leadership, building
     can help this country thrive in the 21st   upon the experiences, knowledge, skills
     century. For the women, it may mean        and wisdom of the community of Asian
     challenging stereotypes and biased         American and Pacific Islander women.
     behavior, whether directed at them or
XII. PARTICIPANT PROFILE
                                                                               3.   QUESTIONNAIRE PARTICIPANTS
                                                                                    BY REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION
                                                                                                                             6.    COMPARISON GROUP
                                                                                                                                   PARTICIPANTS BY GENDER AND
                                                                                                                                   ETHNICITY
                                                                                East                      54     20.2%
                                                                                                                             Age
     The 267 questionnaire respondents                                          Midwest                   18      6.7%
and 150 focus group and interview                                               South                     14      5.2%        The mean age of the 267 questionnaire
participants had the following charac-                                                                                        respondents was 47.11 years.
                                                                                West                      89     33.3%
teristics.                                                                                                                    The vast majority of them (86.9 percent)
                                                                                Hawai‘i and               92     34.4%
                                                                                American Samoa                                were between 30 and 59 years old.
1.   NUMBER OF FOCUS GROUP AND
     INTERVIEW PARTCIPANTS BY                                                                                                 Only 3.7 percent were 29 or younger,
     LOCATION AND SECTOR                                                       4.   QUESTIONNAIRE PARTICIPANTS                and 8.6 percent were 60 or older.
                                                                                    BY ETHNICITY
                                             Government
                                 Nonprofit



                                                           Education
                    For-Profit




                                                                       Total    Chinese                   87     32.6%       Birthplace
                                                                                Japanese                  77     28.8%        Of the questionnaire respondents, 68.9
                                                                                Korean                    24      9.0%        percent were U.S.-born, compared to 40
 Chicago, IL          0 10                     0            3 13                                                              percent of the general Asian American
                                                                                Hawaiian                  23      8.6%
                                                                                                                              and Pacific Islander population.
 Honolulu, HI         0           8            5            6 19
                                                                                Filipino                  20      7.5%
 Houston, TX        10            0            0            0 10                                                              31.1 percent are foreign-born.
                                                                                Multi-racial              15      5.6%
 Los Angeles, CA      8           0            0            8 16
                                                                                South Asians               9      3.4%
 Philadelphia, PA     6           0            0            0           6                                                         This break down of birthplace          31
                                                                                Vietnamese                 4      1.5%       correlated well with the viewpoints of
 Washington, D.C.     5           7            7            0 19                Thai, Burmese (Myanmar),          3.0%       some that U.S.-born Asian American
 Total              29 25 12 17 83                                              Samoan, and Hmong                            and Pacific Islanders are more likely
                                                                                                                             to succeed in the upper rungs of
                                                                               5.   QUESTIONNAIRE PARTICIPANTS               management.
2.   FOCUS GROUP AND INTERVIEW                                                      BY EDUCATION LEVEL
     PARTICIPANTS BY ETHNICITY                                                 99%      have had some college work,
                                                                                        compared to the national
 Chinese                         57                       38.0%
                                                                                        average of 57 percent for all
 Japanese                         29                      19.3%                         Asian American and Pacific
                                                                                        Islander women.
 Filipino                         18                      12.0%
 Pacific Islander                 17                      11.3%                63.3% have completed a graduate
                                                                                     degree (including post-baccalau-
 Korean                           13                      8.6%                       reate professional degrees,
 Southeast Asians                 10                      6.7%                       master’s degrees and degrees at
                                                                                     the doctoral level).
 South Asians                          7                  4.7%
 Total                           150                                           1.5%     have completed some graduate
                                                                                        work.

                                                                               26.2% completed college.

                                                                               3.7%     have completed some college.

                                                                               0.7%     stated that their highest level of
                                                                                        education was high school.
           Kaiser Permanente is committed
     to improving the health of our
     members as well as the communities
     we serve. For more than 50 years,
     Kaiser Permanente’s social purpose
     has been the foundation of its
     community service programs. As a
     non-profit organization, we place
     great importance on community
     service and believe that strong,
     healthy communities benefit
     everyone.
           We do this in many ways.
     Throughout the nation, Kaiser
     Permanente contributes to a wide
     range of community benefit. These
     efforts include providing health
     coverage to low income people who
     otherwise could not afford it;
     contributing to medical knowledge
32
     and improvement of clinical care
     nationally through our clinical and
     health services research projects;
     offering education and training
     programs for physicians, nurses and
     other health professionals;
     partnering with local governments to
     meet community needs and provid-
     ing grants, equipment, expertise and
     volunteer hours to community
     organization. and, advancing
     medical knowledge through clinical
     and health services research.
           On behalf of the diversity that is
     Kaiser Permanente with 8 million
     members, 90,000 employees and over
     11,000 Permanente Physicians we
     applaud the efforts of the APAWLI, its
     staff, participants and leaders.
Edison
International
is proud to
support the
Asian Pacific
American
Women’s
Leadership                              33



Institute
     You have created unique
opportunities for Asian American
and Pacific Island women to share as
sisters, strive as dreamers, and rise
as leaders

    Your commitment to developing
leadership in our communities has
paved the way for future generations
of women leaders
                                                      These are more than words.
                                                They’re deeds, carried out each day
                                                by the people within the State Farm
                                                organization who deliver the product
                                                the insurance policy promises.
                                                      Founded in 1922, State Farm
                                                specializes in personal lines of insurance
     State Farm Insurance Companies
                                                in the United States and Canada. Based
                                                in Bloomington, Ill., State Farm is the
     “We are the world’s largest property       largest U.S. insurer of autos, homes and
                                                pleasure boats.
                                                      Despite its large size, State Farm
     and casualty insurance company. But        built its reputation on personal service.
                                                “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is
     our policyholders measure us not by        There” is more than just a slogan – it’s
                                                the company’s way of doing business.
     our size, but by the personal, quality,          These are just some of the reasons
                                                State Farm has come to be known as a
     one-on-one service we provide.             “Good Neighbor” to millions over the
                                                years.
                                                      At State Farm, we recognize
     Superior service is what sets us apart.”   diversity among Asian American and
                                                Pacific Islander (AA/PI) communities.
34   Edward R. Rust Jr.                         Leaders in these communities will help
     Chairman and CEO,                          shape and change policies on important
     State Farm Insurance Companies             issues. We strive to build a partnership
     1985-present                               with AA/PI communities to support
                                                them in programs that will provide
                                                people with the knowledge and
                                                experiences they will need as leaders.
                                                      Our sponsorship for this research
                                                document will help to provide a forum
                                                for AA/PI women leaders to exchange
                                                critical dialogues about these issues
                                                affecting AA/PI women and leadership
                                                in the 21st century, to develop a
                                                blueprint for turning these strategic
                                                ideas into a high-impact action plan for
                                                the betterment of the AA/PI communi-
                                                ties and to help to identify and cultivate
                                                AA/PI women’s true place and potential
                                                in creating a competitive yet civil
                                                society. We are proud to sponsor
                                                “Leadership Challenges and Opportuni-
                                                ties: An Asian American and Pacific
                                                Islander Woman’s Lens.”
                                                      35




Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute
20325 Mitchel Place
Denver, CO 80249
q303-399-8899 q303.333.1961 q www.apawli.org
 P               F              W
36