Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers

Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers

Elgar original reference

Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore

In a changing world where women have dominated as graduates from universities in the West, recent research has shown that the same trend is also strikingly evident in the newly emerging markets. Tapping into this female talent pool is extremely important and advancing women’s careers has become a key business issue. This Handbook lays out a number of promising approaches. First the business case for doing so is presented. The challenges facing women are reviewed, followed by various programs that address particular needs such as mentoring, leadership development programs for women, work and family initiatives, and succession planning. Finally, case studies of award-winning organizational initiatives are described.

Introduction: advancing women’s careers: a key business issue

Ronald J. Burke and Susan Vinnicombe

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational behaviour


As we prepare to send this manuscript to our publishers a seismic shift is occurring in the European Union (EU) on increasing the number of women on corporate boards. Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner, is threatening to impose a 40 percent quota. Norway led the way with a 40percent quota in 2008. In the UK, Lord Davies’ 2011 report Women on Boards prompted significant change. The nature of the debate has moved from ‘Why is it important to have gender diverse boards?’ to ‘How do we achieve change?’ The percentage of women directors on the top FTSE 100companies has increased from 12.5 percent in 2010 to 17.3 percent. Back in2010, 21 companies had all-male boards; this is down to seven companies now. Most striking of all, during March–September 2012, 44 percent of all new appointments to FTSE 100 boards went to women! The UK is the role model in the EU on how to advance women onto corporate boards without the use of mandatory quotas. The success of the UK’s campaign has been due to the collective efforts of all stakeholders working together to achieve change without government intervention, but with great visible government support (Vinnicombe et al., 2009).