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Women in Leadership Need In-House Support

Companies are throwing away money by not actively supporting and promoting women to their executive ranks and supervisory boards.

That’s a major finding of a new report on women in leadership just released by Cornerstone International Group. Expertly assembled by FTM-International, our member office in Berlin, “Women in Leadership” examines the sluggish gender parity drive and finds that the remedies are simple, manageable and overlooked

The report sets the stage in 2014 when a notable study in 91 countries first estimated that companies with 30% female management were 15% more profitable. Reviewing subsequent data, the Cornerstone report identifies flawed internal processes for not seeing more women in leadership and supervisory ranks.

“Women are disadvantaged in the workplace because of child-rearing and home building, among other things,” says Ronald May, CEO of Cornerstone Berlin. “But there are relatively simple process solutions which most companies are not seeing.”

According to the survey, the assumption that women leaders will at some point spend time away from work contributes to the “broken rung” in promotion processes – a flaw singled out here recently by writer Anne Glenn.  Although men and women begin the advancement process relatively even, the first step up the ladder overwhelmingly favours men over women by 100 to 72. Women never catch up.

The report follows this anomaly in specific industries and regions and appears to discount cultural and economic influence. Half of the 10 countries with the fewest women leaders are highly developed, such as Canada and Germany. Intra-regional variation is equally unpredictable —  China (13.5%) and Japan (2%).

In a section entitled Necessary Improvements, the report singles out gender-neutral parental leave and mentorship as addressable measures more likely to bring about change.  Mentorship is prized by the millennial generation, but only 60% of fast-tracked women benefit from it.

To read the full report prepared by Cornerstone Berlin, download a PDF copy “Women in Leadership” here.

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