According to Michel Ferrary, professor of Human Resource Management at SKEMA Business School, France, and creator of the Femina Index, there is evidence that having women in senior management and board level positions, improves stock market performance. His research has shown that companies whose management teams are at least 35 per cent female, performed better during the financial crisis than more masculinised teams.
Additionally, Cary Cooper, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology & Health at Lancaster University Management School, claims that it is both men and women’s attitudes to women in executive positions that stop many woman from taking that final leap into the boardroom and causes many at senior level to drop out. “It may be because men feel threatened so they play organisational politics to scare women off.” he says.
Even without this, Professor Cooper says some women may see the male-dominated politicking that characterises the higher levels of many organisations as unattractive and just opt out.
Alternatively women may be content to stay where they are. “Many great middle-tier female managers who could easily rise to the very top simply don’t.” says Cooper.
Another issue is the fact that women are less likely than men to draw attention to their successes. “Women do not promote themselves and their successes as much as men. They feel that their performance is noted without that – which may not be the case.”
Although tempting to assume that women fail to promote themselves because of a lack of self-confidence, while self-confident men wave their success in the faces of superiors, Professor Cooper says it is the other way around.
“Deep down men are less self-confident that they tend to talk themselves up,” says Cooper. Women meanwhile, are more likely to be content simply knowing that they have done a good job without needing to shout about it. As a result their successes are less likely to be known about at the top. “Women need to talk up their successes.” he says.