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 16: Breakthrough for women on UK boards

Ruth Sealy


The numbers of women on corporate boards is often taken to be a key indicator of women’s access to power, often on its own but sometimes alongside figures regarding women’s political representation – for example, female cabinet members. Both attract media attention and academic research as the demand for gender equality in leadership grows. At the International Centre for Women Leaders (CICWL) at Cranfield School of Management, in the UK, we have conducted over 13 years of research tracking the pace of change on the UK’s public limited company (PLC) corporate boards. After a decade of minimal change, the past two years have seen significant progress in the UK in this area. In this chapter we consider the events that have driven this change and explain the context of institutional changes that are ongoing and need to continue to achieve better gender balance on corporate boards. At the outset we give a brief background to the issue of women on corporate boards in the UK; look at the strategies adopted between 2010–12 intended to address the issue and then report on the current progress. We conclude with strategies required for moving forward.

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