Historically, there has been a lack of parity between women and men in senior corporate roles, particularly in major companies with the biggest market capitalisation. This can be partly explained by inequalities of career opportunity and also women’s self-perceptions. Yet there are plenty of examples in business and other worlds, notably politics, that women can perform effectively in the highest leadership roles.
Some countries have actively encouraged greater female representation on the boards of major companies. This is a positive step forward. When women join the boards of top companies, the decision-making climates of these bodies can change for the better. When women are appointed as leaders of poorly performing companies they can turn them around and convert them into success stories every bit as often as male appointees.
Women have been dismissed as lacking the character for business leadership. Sometimes, women are their own worst enemies and feel uncomfortable when members of their own gender act more like men. Yet, self-belief can strengthen their perceived suitability for top jobs. Women do need to act tougher to get to the top, but this does not mean abandoning their femininity or having a fulfilling life outside business. Why Women Should Be Taken More Seriously in the Boardroom is a useful tool for business students as well as those in the corporate world looking to gain a deeper understanding of gender balance within leadership roles.