Video: Women in Leadership
Attitudes toward the issue of women's advancement are still clearly divided along gender lines. It is simply not a major issue for many men.pdf
At the executive level, support for increasing the number of women is lower among Generation Xers and millennials than among boomers.pdf
The view that organizations are still run by "old boys' clubs" are still widely held.pdf
OTTAWA, May 15, 2013 /CNW/ - Attitudes about advancing women into senior
management roles are still polarized along gender lines. Men in senior
executive positions appear to be the least concerned about increasing
the number of women in the top ranks of organizations.
Yet the stagnating advancement of women to senior positions in recent
decades may be due to more than the attitudes of men. A new Conference
Board of Canada report finds that a gap in opportunities between women
and men emerges early in their respective careers - at the first level
of management. Compared to men, women are less likely to feel they can
obtain line management responsibilities, creating an experience gap at
the earliest stages of their management careers.
Further, both women and men were of the view that leadership development
and human resource management programs were not serving their intended
purposes - identifying and developing the next generation of leadership
"Gender diversity in senior management is a strategic and cultural issue
within organizations. Our research shows that barriers to women's
advancement exist throughout organizations, but the responsibility
starts at the very top - with the board of directors and the existing
senior management," said Ian Cullwick, Vice-President, Leadership and Human Resources.
"It will take more than neutrality on the part of senior male executives
to bring about significant improvement in the advancement of women
Although the issue of women in leadership positions has gained much
attention in recent years, very little has in fact changed.
Attitudes were generally consistent among male baby boomers and
Generation X/Millennial executives (SEE CHART).
Women leaders are rated as highly as men on core leadership
While women at upper levels of organizations have the same aspirations
as their male counterparts, women in first-level management appear less
ambitious than men.
Numerous studies have shown that organizations improve their bottom
lines when they have more women in senior management positions.
Leadership opportunities, motivations and abilities are three factors
that are crucial to women's advancement. In the research, a fourth
factor has emerged as even more crucial - attitudes. These attitudes
can have a huge influence on the other factors. Eighty-six (86) per
cent of women believe there is still a glass ceiling. While 68 per cent
of women managers think that the organizations are still run by an
"old-boys club", only 43 per cent of men agree (SEE CHART).
This finding shows in the survey results when upper-level female
managers indicated that they have the same aspirations as their male
counterparts to reach senior management. Women in first-level
management, however, appeared less ambitious to reach senior levels of
the organization than men.
"Paradoxically, we may need more female leaders before we can increase
the number of women in senior management," said Donna Burnett-Vachon,
Associate Director, Leadership and Human Resources.
Most women (and men, for that matter) ranked formal Talent Management
programs at the bottom of the list in terms of having an impact on
their careers. Further, mentors for women were more likely have a lower
organizational rank than men, and women were more likely than men to
look outside their organizations for mentors.
"To advance, women need not just mentors, but sponsors - senior leaders
who can advocate for them and help to open up career opportunities,
often in an informal way. However, women are less likely than men to
have sponsors as they work their way up the ranks," said
Based on a core focus on changing philosophies and values,
recommendations for change fall into three categories, which together
make up an integrated approach to promoting the advancement of women in
Governance: make women's advancement a formal governance and performance
priority for the board; ensure that policies, practices and measures
are both in place and consistently applied; communicate the business
case for advancing women throughout the organization.
Leadership development: Engage senior leaders to identify emerging women
leaders; ensure there are senior women role models in the organization;
provide high-potential and emerging women leaders with strategic
Human Resources Management: identify actual or perceived barriers to
career development; seek out high-potential women from the earliest
career stages and provide meaningful support; regularly review talent
management practices and educate supervisors and managers on such
processes; provide more family-friendly policies and encourage all
employees (men and women) to take advantage of them.
Some Canadian organizations do follow best practices and get exceptional
results, but they are not the norm. Without the involvement of top
leaders who champion, monitor, and measure organizational progress, the
number of women in the senior leadership ranks will not increase
dramatically any time soon.
The report is based on a national survey of 876 women and men, along
with in-depth interviews with 29 women (15 who have reached C-suite
levels and 14 emerging leaders). Overall, 43 per cent of male managers
and 68 per cent of female managers agree that organizations should try
to increase the number of women in senior management.
Male senior executives were the least likely of all management groups to
agree that there is a need to increase the number of women in
leadership roles. The vast majority of female senior executives (90 per
cent) agreed or strongly agreed that organizations should try to
increase the number of women in their senior ranks. But only 42 per
cent of men agreed with that sentiment. (SEE CHART)
The publication, Women in Leadership: Perceptions and Priorities for Change, is available at www.e-library.ca. A webinar for the findings will be held Friday, May 31 at 11 a.m.
Video with caption: "Video: Women in Leadership". Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X841ZWdBA7Q
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/05/15/20130515_C7101_DOC_EN_26745.pdf
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/05/15/20130515_C7101_DOC_EN_26746.pdf
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/05/15/20130515_C7101_DOC_EN_26747.pdf
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448
View video commentary by Donna Burnett-Vachon, Associate Director, Leadership and Human Resources
Chart - Men's Support for Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Management, by Level and Age Cohort
Chart - Support for Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Management by Gender and Level
Chart - Belief That Old Boys' Clubs Run Most Organizations by Gender and Management Status