January 22, 2015

One in five women believe it is “impossible” to attain senior roles

Almost a fifth of women believe their gender is preventing them from reaching senior level management roles.

In a survey of 2,000 working women in the UK, conducted by communications corporation O2, 48% of respondents said that all the decision-makers in their company are male. This is far below Lord Davies’ 25% Women on Boards target which should be met this year.

Over a quarter of the women surveyed said that they dream of becoming chief executives, while a third saying that their career had failed to meet their expectations. However, 17% believe is it impossible for a woman to reach a senior role.

Reasons cited for not reaching greater heights in business were mainly structural: 33% cited poor quality line management, and 22% felt they lacked effective training and development programs. However, 28% placed blame on negative office politics.

Over a third of women also said that they lacked the confidence to ask for a promotion or pay rise that they felt they deserved.

Nonetheless, evidence-based research suggests that gender quotas on boards do not necessarily improve firm performance. Our author Nina Smith argues that quotas do not increase the pool of women with senior experience, and that policies should aim to balance the division of careers within families to widen the pipeline of women progressing to senior management.

Read more here.

Related articles:
Gender quotas on boards of directors, by Nina Smith
Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap, by Solomon W. Polachek