Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 20: Women’s leadership programmes are still important
Women’s leadership programmes continue to provoke controversy. McKinsey’s latest report in the series Women Matter 2012: Making the Breakthrough (Devillard et al., 2012) presents the results of a survey into the gender diversity practices of 235 leading European companies. Gender diversity was found to be amongst the top ten strategic priorities for over half the companies studied; twice the number from McKinsey’s report in 2010. McKinsey’s Women Matter 2010 report (Desvaux et al., 2010) showed that gender diversity is best supported when there is management commitment, women’s development programmes and a set of context enablers all working together to reinforce each other. The worrying finding in the 2012 report states that there is a mixed response to women’s development programmes, ‘Many companies are strong supporters and women in particular often see them as a priority. But some feel such programmes are either unnecessary or even counterproductive. Only 47 per cent chose to offer women’s skill building programmes.’ One interviewee commented, ‘Women-specific programmes stigmatize women.
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