Nordic Gender Inequality

I am Swedish, and when I say I’m Swedish, eyes and faces lit up – Ah, the Homeland of The Equals. Where fathers stay at home with their children for months and no one thinks twice about it. Where instead of he or she, a gender neutral word has been introduced in the language. Where women detectives roam the streets (a step up from the polar bears), and where we all live in perfect homes furnished by Scandinavian designers.

Ah, the wonders of the country that takes over the world one four letter acronym at a time…

But then there is the truth. And the truth is seldom beautiful. The truth is that when it comes to gender equality in the workplace Sweden is a failed state. And there are numbers to prove it. In his excellent book ”The Nordic Gender Equality Paradox”  Dr. Nima Sanandaji clearly shows how the Nordic well fare states hold women back, rather than the opposite. Proportionally, Nordic countries tops only Cyprus when it comes to women amongst directors and chief executives. And they fall well behind more conservative neighbours like the Baltic. In fact in EU27 best in class in Bulgaria with almost 48%.

So what would any well-meaning government do to change this? Introduce new legislation. What else? But it is a legislation that a minority supports and I have yet to meet one woman that supports positive discrimination against us. Why should we support measures that promotes inequality and makes no difference when it comes to our accomplishments? No one seems to be able to answer these questions, because seemingly no one seems to ask it.  Besides no one has shown me WHY it is of importance to achieve this gender balance. It can be said that business have developed rather splendid these past 200 years without women on board, so why change a winning formula? Yes, I am convinced that balanced compositions are better and more effective than unbalanced. And I think it’s bad for branding when I see boards 100% male. But nowhere have I found support for my belief that balanced is better than not. And before we start setting unwanted legislation in place, how about some evidence?

Make no mistake, I’d love to sit on a board. But I want to be on that board because I bring valuable expertise to it. Not because of my combination of XY chromosomes. If that is the only reason it is degrading, unequal and arrogant.

EU launches partnership for €1.8 billion

EU launches partnership for €1.8 billion investment against cyber threats.

Sponsored journalism – always dishonest and lacking in integrity?

In Sweden, and I guess elsewhere as well, there’s an ongoing discussion about sponsored journalism and that it’s dishonest to the readers. But is it? Can it even be that it is more honest?

We all know it – good journalism cost. It’s that simple, and more and more we’re getting used to “free” journalism, so it’s harder for the traditional outlets to finance their business. I put free between brackets because there is no such thing as free, sooner or later someone must pay. But I’m more discussing integrity here. Because there is a sense that sponsored journalism lacks integrity and only exist as a kind of infotainment. This time around it was a piece on the Swedish radio about one major Swedish newspaper that had started a co-operation with an auction house and thanks to that was able to offer high-quality articles on the art market. The sponsored journalists did not hide under which circumstances the articles have been produced. In other words it was clear that the content is produced in collaboration with this auction house. The radio journalists approached the subject under the assumption that sponsored journalism is dishonest and lacking integrity, and that “their” type of journalism is so much better. But “their” journalism is state sponsored through taxes, so how free is that? It is perceived so because we don’t see the direct relationship between the funds and the result, but is not only a perception? Can’t it be that sponsored content is much more honest and show higher integrity because the sender is (or at least should be) clearly identified and I as a reader know this? If I know that an article on pain management is written by pharma company producing a certain pain remedy I take that into account when I read the text. When I read a text by a journalist specialised in pharma I can’t be sure of the sources, and as a PR with a fair few years of competence in working with the press under my belt, I know for a fact that “sponsored” content i.e. successful pitch, is not unusual.

Can it be that openly sponsored journalism has higher integrity than we give it credit for? What say you?

Cyber Insurance – the New Black?

Cyber Insurance, the New Black?

by Sara Goldberger

Cyber attacks and cyber insurance, it’s on everybody’s lips and on the surface it seems relatively simple – a breach, there are victims, data is lost, and the insurance company pays up. It doesn’t seem that different from other insurances. With all of the reports of breaches over the past few years, some very alarming in terms of their scale, everyone wants cyber insurance coverage and believes this will protect them.

But there are many misconceptions about cyber insurance. For example, a UK Government survey last year showed that 52% of CEOs believe that they have coverage, yet less than 10% actually do. So what exactly is “cyber insurance,” what does it cover, and how does it cover cross-border crime?

Cyber-insurance protects businesses and individuals from Internet-based risks. Many insurers say that risks of this nature are typically excluded from traditional commercial, general liability policies. Coverage provided by cyber insurance policies may include:

  • First-party coverage against losses such as data destruction, extortion, theft, hacking, and denial of service attacks;
  • Liability coverage indemnifying companies for losses to others caused, for example, by errors and omissions, failure to safeguard data, or defamation;
  • Other benefits including regular security-audit, post-incident public relations and investigative expenses, and criminal reward funds.

There are several considerations to keep in mind when buying cyber insurance. Costs vary widely, but to purchase a $1M policy typically costs $5K to $25K per year for a medium-sized company. However, cyber policies might not pay out if your claim is delayed. Which raises the question: what happens if your organization suffers a breach during the coverage period but do not become aware for some time? An insurer may also not cover your claim based upon employee negligence or if your organisation failed to adhere to minimum required security practices specified in the policy.

And what happens if you suffer a cyber attack? Interestingly, 81% of US companies that have bought cyber insurance have never filed a claim. The median-sized claim is $76,984, though there are a few that are much bigger. It is those outliers that push the mean average claim up to $673,767. And what expenses does the claim cover? More than half of the claims that insurers pay out on cyber policies include the expense of legal and forensic specialists. Over 40% of claims recover the cost of notification to affected individuals and the cost of providing credit monitoring services.

In the Global Economic Crime Survey 2016 Report, cybercrime climbs to the second most reported economic crime affecting 32% of organisations, while at the same time close to 60% of the surveyed organisations do not even have a cyber incident response plan in place. Many companies also report feeling a lack of support and a notion of “not knowing what to do when an attack happens.” Organisations such as IT and auditing consultancies offer some help and support, but they rarely have a corporate-wide view. That’s an area where two recently formed organisations – Cyber Rescue Alliance and the Global Cyber Alliance can make a difference.

Cyber Rescue Alliance; is a Pan-European organisation aimed at helping the approximately 12,000 European SMEs that hold sensitive data on over 5,000 individuals. The organisation delivers a Comprehensive Business Response solution that includes instant, practical crisis management guidance and tiered response capability from pre-vetted organisations. In other words, the solution offers coordinated, tangible and practical business assistance across the full spectrum of challenges that follow a breach. In the event of an attack, Cyber Rescue Alliance will provide practical help and assistance to the many smaller businesses that can’t invest in a full-time CISO or PR Consultant with those services in order to mitigate the impact of a cyber-attack. In other words, it is the across-corporate, one-stop approach that makes Cyber Rescue Alliance unique.

Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is unique as it partners across borders and sectors. Based on the organisation’s mantra “Do Something. Measure It.” GCA’s first effort is to tackle phishing, which is often the source of a breach. GCA is partnering with several organisations to implement two solutions:  to drive the deployment of DMARC and use of secure DNS services, and then to measure the effect — so that we all may accelerate eradication of phishing as a systemic cyber risk.

While addressing, and responding to, the needs of different sized organisations, Cyber Rescue Alliance and GCA are working together, thus ensuring that perhaps one of the biggest business problems of our time – cyber-attacks – are given the attention and solutions it needs. Only through this cooperation can we ensure that companies are implementing the best security practices available in order that cyber insurance policies will indeed insure them against these risks.

The author, Sara Goldberger, is the Head of Communications Global Operations and IT at Zurich Insurance Group and Board Member of GCA partner, Cyber Rescue Alliance. You can follow her on Twitter @saragoldberger.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of the Global Cyber Alliance. 

Initially published on –

So why are weekly commutes so scary, again?

When job hunting you come across the oddest reasons for being turned down, one of the oddest is geographic proximity. If I look for a job in the London area, a likely scenario, what is the big deal with me doing a weekly commute? On my dime and time, might I add. As long as I’m in the office 8.30 Monday morning isn’t that all that counts?

Is is this purely a UK issue? It being an island and all?

I frankly don’t understand, which is why this BBC article is so strange for me. While we’re not all property tycoons living in South of France I still don’t see the big thing about weekly commutes.

On the contrary, I see it as a possibility to personal growth and professional development.

After careful consideration….

When job hunting, this is an automated message we’ve all received and we know that those words isn’t the beginning of a new and fruitful relationship. Fair enough and not that much of a problem; an organisation should recruit the person they believe can do the job.

No, what bothers me is the time lapsed between the application and this answer. Yesterday I submitted my CV to a large company for a Communications Director position. I immediately received a confirmation that they had received my application. And 32 minutes later I received this follow-up message:

Thank you for your recent application to XXXX.

After careful consideration we have decided not to progress with your application at this point in time as we have identified candidates that more closely match our requirements.

Please continue to review our current opportunities on the careers page of our website at xxx, to ensure consideration for future roles.

Thank you for the interest you’ve shown and may we wish you every success in your search for a new role.

Yours sincerely,

XXX Talent Acquisition

Really? My application was carefully considered for the whole of 32 minutes. And that during a time of day when not many are at the office. How careful can you be in 32 minutes? Personally, I not only find this behaviour unprofessional I also find it rude.

I understand we all play the Taleo guessing game and unless my CV doesn’t contain the correct key words it won’t show up. But I would advice the responsible managers to programme an automated timer to the answer and hold it for 24 hours. It would at least make you look minimally professional.


Gender Equality in the Board Room

To all of you crying out for women in your board room I have the following question and comment:

  • What is you think a woman can do but a man can’t? (And vice versa…)
  • Instead of crying, open your eyes and look around. We’re here and we’re competent.
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