The official definition of the glass ceiling, courtesy of the US Department of Labor, is: “those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organisational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing upward in their organisation into management-level positions”.
Niall FitzGerald, former chief executive of Unilever and chairman of Thomson Reuters, spoke last week at Brandeis University’s International Business School, just outside of Boston, about the qualities of good, strong leaders.
For years now, men and women have entered law firms in the US in almost equal numbers. And yet, the number of women in leadership positions at these firms remains remarkably low.
Sheila Wellington was the first woman to become secretary of Yale University in the 1980s, a prestigious role that ranks just below the Yale provost and president. After completing her stint at Yale, she ran Catalyst for 10 years, a nonprofit group that works to improve opportunities for women in business.
Want to retain more female employees? Appoint more women to the top.
It is not easy being a woman on Wall Street. And it’s even harder being a woman of colour. According to new research from Catalyst, the non-profit group that aims to expand opportunities for women in business, those belonging to racial minority groups face greater challenges than white women in developing trusting relationships with their managers in the financial services industry.
According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women-owned businesses account for 40 per cent of all privately held companies – which is not too shabby. But only about 3 per cent of all of these companies have revenues of $1m or more, compared with 6 per cent of companies owned by men. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, just 1.8 per cent of women-owned companies have revenues above $1m.
My colleague, Liz Bolshaw, recently wrote in this space about new research that examines entrepreneurship’s gender gap. The study found that 29 per cent of privately held firms in the US are women-owned, but just 1.8 per cent of those firms had revenues above $1m. The study also found that women lodge less than half the number of patents of men.
Norway has the highest level of participation of women in the boardroom than any other country in the world, having introduced a 40 per cent quota in 2003. (The quota became mandatory in 2008.)
Catalyst, the non-profit group that aims to expand opportunities for women in business, has published a new study on October 13 that looks at the obstacles male and female high-potential employees experience as their careers advance.