Women in the Workplace: A Shortage of Those Who Have The Corner Offices

by Elizabeth on June 2, 2011 · 3 comments

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Companies around the world are recognizing that they need top female executives in order to be competitive. An article in the New York Times earlier this year called For Women in the Workplace, An Upgrade Problem, shows that Europe is far behind the U.S. in the number of executives they have.

According to the Government Accounting Office, around 40% of private sector managers are women, where as in Europe the number is around 12%. The reason the numbers are low is businesses are having a problem getting women to the top.

“They are realizing that it’s really about changing the culture — and not just to one that is friendly to women, but to one that women would want to be a part of.”

Many have thought that because women stop working when on maternity leave, they are denied advancement opportunities. This isn’t altogether accurate, as studies show there are only about 5% of women on maternity leave on average at companies each year.

So why can’t companies attract and keep top women? What do you think?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexander June 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

What is the evidence that competitiveness requires female executives, rather than the best executives regardless of sex?

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Elizabeth June 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

That’s a good question Alexander. I think that the best executives regardless of sex is the answer for the best situation for the company–I think the article was suggesting that because of the differences between men and women, companies recognize they need both sexes in order to be as successful as they possibly can be! Thanks for commenting!

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Rachel June 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I think the issue is that the corporate culture is inflexible in terms of hours and the idea that one must work in the office – with hours spent in the office more important than work accomplished. I think if the corporate culture was more flexible in letting women work from home a few days a week and not requiring them to work 9-5 every day (maybe 8-4 would work better or taking an hour or two off in the middle of the day and being able to finish up the work at home when their kids went to bed) would help women rise to the top. Women have different responsibilities and challenges in life, but the corporate culture has not yet adapted to women’s need to balance work and their home life. If it did, then more women would be able to rise to the top.

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