Feeds

Women want to experiment in boardrooms

What strange customs these management types have

High performance access to file storage

Cranfield School of Management is looking for firms to open their boardrooms for academic examination to help researchers determine whether the infamous old boys network really does prevent women from taking the top jobs in science, engineering and technology (SET) industries.

Researchers want to add to a growing body of research that suggests a tribal masculine culture keeps women out of boardrooms unless they can pretend to be one of the boys.

Professor Susan Vinnecombe OBE, advisor on the project, said there were plenty of women making it into middle management jobs, but a masculine culture was keeping them out of boardrooms.

Vinnecombe cited research by Catalyst, a firm that examines the place of women in the workplace, that found CEOs thought there weren't more women in their boardrooms because they hadn't been around long enough and didn't have enough management experience.

Women, on the other hand, felt board positions were reserved for male stereotypes. It was a tribal thing - if you weren't one of the boys, you weren't getting on the board.

The debate was heated up last year when Harvard president Lawrence Summers speculated in a controversial speech on why there weren't more women in top SET jobs.

He said women were too distracted by their home lives to match the total dedication given by men to their senior positions.

"The relatively few women who are in the highest ranking places are disproportionately either unmarried or without children," he said.

The law profession is usually held up as a shining example of how a masculine world can be transformed into one amenable to women - this reference was used by Summers last year and again by Vinnecombe today.

Yet even in law, women are being kept out of boardrooms because of stereotyped ideas of what sort of skills are required to fill top jobs.

Law firm executives think men are "decisive and aggressive" and women are "indecisive and gentle", and this prejudiced them against hiring women for top jobs, found a study of the hiring practices among 700 US law firms in the 1990s, published last summer.

39 per cent of law associates were women, but only 13 per cent of partners, found the study, Gender Stereotypes, Same-Gender Preferences, and Organizational Variation in the Hiring of Women: Evidence from Law Firms, by Elizabeth Gorman, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

According to the Cranfield Female FTSE study, women fill only 10.5 per cent of positions in Britain's top 100 boardrooms. Only 3.4 per cent of executive positions are filled by women.

Vinnecombe said one FTSE 100 firm in the study had discovered that the qualities it was asking for in executive job adverts were all masculine. It dumped words that described a decisive and aggressive culture and found they started finding more top jobs for women and more women for top jobs.®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.