Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers
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Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers

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.
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Chapter 13: Women in professional services firms

Camilla Quental


Research into women’s careers has flourished in recent years and many studies in various countries, professions, political parties and organizations are available today, giving us a better understanding of their paths and challenges in a variety of professional domains and contexts. However, very few studies address women in the specific context of professional services firms (PSFs), despite the fact that PSFs have grown in importance in the last 20 years and are considered by bright and ambitious graduates to be an appealing and professionally rewarding job choice. Furthermore, increasing numbers of women are attracted to careers in PSFs. We therefore have many reasons for studying women’s careers in PSFs. This chapter is structured as follows: first, I discuss the importance of studying women’s careers in PSFs; second, I review the research into women’s careers in this specific context, from the pioneering studies through to more recent ones; third, I present a recent study into promotions to partner for women and men, this being one of the most important professional transformations in PSFs. Finally, I outline the conclusion and suggest some further research directions.

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