Study: Men less concerned with women's advancement
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
advancing women to senior leadership roles are still polarized along gender
lines -- and male senior executives appear to be the least concerned about
increasing the number of women in the top ranks, according to a new study by
The Conference Board of Canada.
Nearly 90 percent of
women believe a glass ceiling exists, according to "Women in Leadership:
Perceptions and Priorities for Change,” based on a survey of 876 men and women
and interviews with 29 women at the c-suite and emerging leader levels.
Nearly 70 percent of
women managers believe in the persistence of the "old boys’ club,” compared to
43 percent of men.
A large majority of
women managers (68 percent) believe organizations should increase the number of
women in senior management, while only 43 percent of male managers feel the
same way. Among senior executives, 90 percent of women surveyed believe organizations
should increase the number women leaders; only 42 percent of senior executive
"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 for The Conference Board of Canada. "It will take more than neutrality on the
part of senior male executives to bring about significant improvement in the
advancement of women within organizations."
respondents, women at upper levels of management indicate they have the same
level of ambition to reach the c-suite as their male counterparts, while those
in first-level management positions are less ambitious to reach the top of the
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,
according to the study.
Women also face
challenges in finding adequate mentorship. Many women are finding themselves
looking outside of their organizations for mentors at senior levels of leadership.
"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,” said study
co-author Donna Burnett-Vachon, associate director, leadership and human
resources for The Conference Board of Canada. "However, women are less likely
than men to have sponsors as they work their way up the ranks. Paradoxically,
we may need more female leaders before we can increase the number of women in
Both women and men
believe that leadership development and human resource management programs were
not serving their intended purposes ― identifying and developing the next
generation of leadership candidates.