Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 19: Advancing women: a focus on strategic initiatives
Women have long battled for a seat at the table, whether on a project team, in the executive suite or in the boardroom. Often, decisions about who will be offered job opportunities and critical assignments are based on relationships and ‘who you know’ reflects your level of access (Underhill, 2006). This is one of many challenges that hinder women’s progress in achieving high-status corporate roles; cumulatively, these challenges are often described as ‘the glass ceiling’. Women’s representation in top jobs is typically significantly lower than that of their male counterparts (Catalyst, 2013). As of 2013, in the United States, women comprise 46.9 percent of the total labor force and 51.5 percent of management and professional positions. Yet men dominate the highest levels of Fortune 500 organizations, holding 96 percent of chief executive officer (CEO) positions, 85.7 percent of executive officer roles, and 83.4 percent of board seats (Catalyst, 2013).
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