Women represent half of the population and hence half of the talent. They have achieved an equal status, equal rights and opportunities. Females also constitute roughly 50% of the intake of graduates for most professional and managerial posts. Why then can't we observe a similar trend in female representation in company boardrooms and senior executive positions?
In Europe women make up around 10% of company board members with considerable variations (Portugal – less than 1%; Norway – 40%). American women have it slightly better at 16%. As for top management positions in Fortune 500 companies, only 15% of them are filled by women and there are only 3% of female CEOs.
“It was big news last month when IBM appointed its first female CEO in its 100-year history, Virginia Rometty.”
Theoretically, there is no reason for women not to get promoted. It is believed that female managers are more pragmatic, more empathetic, more risk-averse and better at communication. Females add diversity and a breath of fresh air to the team dominated by men, who might be stuck in their comfort zones. Studies show that companies with a strong female representation have a much better return on equity and companies with most women on boards of directors are more profitable and efficient. Women are reported to be better at leadership accountability, innovation and to be responsible for higher operating margins and market capitalisation.
On the other hand, many elements of today's business culture, which are perfect for men, don't really work for women. Women might be unwilling to socialise after work and talk about sport. They also don't feel that the advancement system based on mentoring, coaching, counselling and networking is in their favour. A heavy work schedule might be a major obstacle given the fact that most women are family-oriented. A job description listing huge responsibility, working weeks of 70 hours or more and constant travel may not be exactly what women dream of. That and the fact that there is still a shortage of female role models doing well in business make women aim below their male peers and settle for careers below their potential.
Here's hoping that the appointment of Ms Virginia Rometty as the CEO of IBM is not a rare exception but the beginning of a new trend and that she will be an inspiration to women all over the world to aim high and pursue their careers in business.
* blog post entirely based on the article from the November 26th 2011 issue of the Economist.
You can read the article at link
You might want to know:
the marzipan layer (dosł. warstwa marcepanowa) – people in a company or organization who have important jobs but who are just below the highest position – the icing (dosł. lukier).
corner office: an office which is located in the corner of a building, usually given to the most senior executives
to represent – stanowić
hence – dlatego też
equal – równy
to constitute – stanowić
roughly – około
an intake – nabór
graduates – absolwenci
managerial – menadżerski, kierowniczy
a boardroom – sala posiedzeń zarządu spółki
senior executive positions – stanowiska wyższego szczebla kierowniczego
to make up – stanowić
board members – członkowie zarządu (in Poland: executive board members – członkowie zarządu, supervisory board members – członkowie rady nadzorczej.
considerable – znaczny
as for – jeśli chodzi o
CEO – Chief Executive Officer – CEO, Dyrektor Naczelny
to appoint smb as – mianować
get promoted – dostać awans
empathetic – posiadający zdolność empatii
risk-averse – unikający ryzyka
diversity – różnorodność
be stuck – tkwić w
a comfort zone – dosł. strefa komfortu, a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested
return on equity (ROE) – rentowność kapitałów własnych
efficient – wydajny
accountability – odpowiedzialność
operating margin = return on sales (ROS) – rentowność sprzedaży (operating – związany z działalnością operacyjną, margin – marża)
market capitalisation – wartość giełdowa spółki (a measurement of size of a business corporation)
to socialise –udzielać się towarzysko
networking – nieformalna wymiana informacji i usług, nawązywanie kontaktów zawodowych (meeting people who might be useful to know, especially in your job)
in somebody's favour – na czyjąś korzyść
a major obstacle – znaczna przeszkoda
given the fact that – biorąc pod uwagę
a job description – zakres obowiązków
a shortage of – niedobór, brak
a role model – wzór do naśladowania
to aim (high) – mierzyć (wysoko)
a male peer – dosł. męski odpowiednik, tut. mężczyzna z podobnym wykształceniem i doświadczeniem zawodowym
to settle for – zadowalać się czymś (to accept or agree to something, or to decide to have something, although it is not exactly what you want or it is not the best)
Here's hoping – Let's hope
rare – rzadki
to pursue a career – realizować się zawodowo (If you pursue a plan, activity or situation, you try to do it or achieve (osiągnąć) it, usually over a long period of time)