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 20: Women’s leadership programmes are still important

Susan Vinnicombe, Lynda L. Moore and Deirdre Anderson


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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