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 19: Advancing women: a focus on strategic initiatives

Julie S. Nugent, Sarah Dinolfo and Katherine Giscombe


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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