|Last week Britain saw its second ever female Prime Minister, Theresa May, take office. Mrs May—the first party-elected female leader of either of Britain’s two main political parties since Margaret Thatcher was voted leader of the Conservative Party in 1975—then promptly named her new 24-person cabinet, which includes seven women.
This prompts the question, why, even though there are over 190 countries in the world, are there only seven female heads of government and 13 heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, and South-Korean President Park Geun-hye?
It may be argued, in some cases, that societal and cultural patriarchy discourage women from trying to gain positions of power, both politically and in other professional organizations. However, many Western countries that are considered forward-thinking, and models of 21st-century equality, such as France and the US, have never had female heads of state. Furthermore, as of October 2015, only 14 Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs, a 41.7% decrease from the previous year, when there were 24. Subsequently, questions remain as to which factors prevent female representation in both politics and the boardroom, and how they should be combated.
Below are some further articles on gender diversity within professional environments.
These articles ask whether increased female presence on company boards improve performance, and whether attitude differences between men and women contribute to labor market performance?
Nina Smith writes: "Variations between countries and between types of firm could mean that having more women on the board is advantageous in some circumstances but not in others," and Ghazala Azmat notes that: "Policies promoting diversity are intended to make society fairer, faster. While such policies are often controversial [...] greater female representation might become a model for other women, who will be better prepared."
Mario Lackner explains in his article that men generally have a higher level of competitiveness than women, and that this, in addition to discrimination, can affect labor market outcomes. He also discusses possible solutions to counter this as he adds that: "One potential policy measure that would help is to undertake reforms of the educational system to encourage competitive attitudes."
More articles on gender divides.