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 22: Factors supporting women’s career advancement: differences between male and female CEOs in the United States

Alix Valenti and Stephen V. Horner


Since the Department of Labor issued its ‘Glass Ceiling’ report (US Department of Labor, 1991) the question regarding why women have not attained senior positions in large US corporations lingers. Women have successfully entered what were once male-dominated professions such as law and medicine; however, they continue to face difficulties in obtaining top positions in business organizations. Catalyst (2012) reported that as of 1 January 2012, only 18 women were heads of Fortune 500 companies and 35 in total were chief executive officers (CEOs) of Fortune 1000 companies. This represented slightly more than 0.5 percent change since 2008 (Catalyst, 2009). Some research suggests that societal expectations, stereotyping, lack of experience, organizational culture and family needs create obstacles for women to succeed in attaining top positions (Crampton and Mishra, 1999; Reinhold, 2005; Wrigley, 2002). Other studies suggest that certain factors are needed to facilitate women’s career advancement, including the existence of mentors, cultivating networks, overseas assignments, general management/line experience and critical and visible assignments (Crampton and Mishra, 1999; La Pierre and Zimmerman, 2012; Marlow etal., 1995; Ragins et al., 1999).

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