Setting women on the fruitful path to leadership

Mar 13, 2014 by Greta Guest

Women with dependents who want to lead American corporations need mentors more than ever to get there, according to research from the University of Michigan.

Cindy Schipani, professor of business law at Michigan's Ross School of Business, and colleagues explored how mentoring helps to boost career outcomes for women and men with and without dependents.

"What's critical is a mentor who sponsors you and puts in a good word for you," Schipani said. "Women tend not to be getting that support as much as men do."

Women make up nearly half the workforce and hold 60 percent of bachelor's degrees, yet they hold just 14 percent of senior executive positions at Fortune 500 companies and 40 percent of managerial positions overall.

Studies have shown that companies with more women involved in leadership outperform their sector in terms of return on equity, operating result and stock price growth.

Schipani's research shows that women with dependents seem to need more mentoring to rise. It may be that having dependents sends negative signals about assumed commitment to senior decision-makers and mentors, and continues to pose challenges for women.

The broad gender disparities in business are not unique to the U.S. The proportion of women on European company boards averages 15.8 percent, with a high of 40.9 percent in Norway and a low of 3.7 percent in Portugal. By comparison, 16.9 percent of board members of Fortune 500 companies were female in 2013.

To overcome these disparities, many European countries such as Norway have imposed quotas to ensure 's participation in governmental and organizations. The European Union considered a mandatory quota of 40 percent, but changed it to a desired goal.

Neither of these European systems would be legally sustainable in the U.S., although the goal system comes close.

Schipani and colleagues Terry Morehead Dworkin of Indiana University and Aarti Ramaswami of the ESSEC Business School in France suggest several ways to tackle the issue, including:

  • Have a government entity such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission impose mentoring programs.
  • Have the Securities and Exchange Commission make gender diversity a priority. It already requires companies to state in their proxy statements whether diversity was a factor in considering board candidates. It could add gender.

Explore further: Study associates women in corporate leadership with higher revenue

More information: The paper is available online: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf… ?abstract_id=2388674

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

3Qs: Breaking into the boardroom

Mar 15, 2012

Last week, a debate began over the European Union considering legislation that would create quotas for the number of women in in top business positions. Northeastern University news office asked Laura Frader, ...

Striking a balance in the boardroom

Dec 18, 2012

Companies have been very slow in recruiting more women board directors; but according to an EU report the period between October 2010 and January 2012 has seen the best progress in improving the gender balance ...

Sorry, but there's no business case for gender quotas

Aug 30, 2012

There's support across the globe for increased female participation at leadership levels. In Norway, it's a legislative requirement that at least 40% of the board members of listed companies are women. Spain, ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

User comments : 24

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (2) Mar 14, 2014
Under pre industrial European systems, titles of nobility and the division of men into castes established by law, with special privileges granted to some and denied to others, "patronage" rather than individual merit's, (i.e. attributes) meaning: skills, creativity, and intelligence, governed access to opportunity.

In America, over the span of time, with the establishment of individual rights under objective law, any individual could succeed on the basis of individual merit alone – until the rise of progressivism.

Schipani evades factual reality, indeed causality itself, asserting "What's critical is a mentor who sponsors you and puts in a good word for you," evading the fact it is individual merit that the mentor sponsors – and not any irrelevant external's such as gender.

What progressives seek to establish is a system of nobility by title membership to groups who's irrelevant externals, i.e. gender, race, sexuality, supersede individual merit.
Rimino
Mar 14, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2014
Since merit, the value of performance, does not depend on any irrelevant externals such as gender, race, or sexuality – what progressives propose is defiance of the Law of Causality: they demand for equal results from unequal causes—or equal rewards for unequal performance.

Progressives turn the word equality into an anti-concept: they use it to mean, not political, but metaphysical equality—the displacement of merit by meaningless externals of gender, race, or sexuality, supplanting these as virtuous over natural endowment or individual choice, performance and character.

It is not man-made institutions, but nature, i.e., reality, that they propose to fight—by means of man-made institutions.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2014
"To understand the meaning and motives of egalitarianism, project it into the field of medicine. Suppose a doctor is called to help a man with a broken leg and, instead of setting it, proceeds to break the legs of ten other men, explaining that this would make the patient feel better; when all these men become crippled for life, the doctor advocates the passage of a law compelling everyone to walk on crutches—in order to make the cripples feel better and equalize the "unfairness" of nature.

If this is unspeakable, how does it acquire an aura of morality—or even the benefit of a moral doubt—when practiced in regard to man's mind?"

- Ayn Rand
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2014
"Since nature does not endow all men with equal beauty or equal intelligence, and the faculty of volition leads men to make different choices, the egalitarians [progressives] propose to abolish the "unfairness" of nature and of volition, and to establish universal equality in fact—in defiance of facts. Since the Law of Identity is impervious to human manipulation, it is the Law of Causality that they struggle to abrogate. Since personal attributes or virtues cannot be "redistributed," they seek to deprive men of their consequences—of the rewards, the benefits, the achievements created by personal attributes and virtues. It is not equality before the law that they seek, but inequality: the establishment of an inverted social pyramid, with a new aristocracy on top—the aristocracy of non-value."

- Ayn Rand
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2014
In a free society all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. A corporation is a union of human beings in a voluntary, cooperative endeavor. It exemplifies the principle of free association, which is an expression of the right to freedom. What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion.

Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion.

Greta Guest is correct in pointing out that outright top-down imposition of quota's is illegal in the United States – what she fails to point out is the wrongness of any academic plot which intends to use coercion to undermine basic human freedoms.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2014
The objective goal of Schipani, Terry Morehead Dworkin, and Aarti Ramaswami is clearly stated: to undermine the right of freedom of association – they know that they cannot take down our freedoms by head-on assault, so they seek to covertly obliterate them by increments, using governmental entities such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
Naaaa just because it's a woman, does not mean that it ought to get the job.

And most women spend far too much time obsessing about sex, masturbation, porn and getting pregnant, to get much of anything done - that does not involve that.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
If there were such a thing as a passion for equality (not equality de jure, but de facto), it would be obvious to its exponents that there are only two ways to achieve it: either by raising all men to the mountaintop—or by razing the mountains. The first method is impossible because it is the faculty of volition that determines a man's stature and actions; but the nearest approach to it was demonstrated by the United States and capitalism, which protected the freedom, the rewards and the incentives for every individual's achievement, each to the extent of his ability and ambition, thus raising the intellectual, moral and economic state of the whole society – until the rise of progressivism.

The second method is impossible because, if mankind were leveled down to the common denominator of its least competent members, it would not be able to survive.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
Yet it is the second method that the progressive egalitarians are pursuing. The greater the evidence of their policy's consequences, i.e., the greater the injustice [they cause], the greater vicious inequality [their actions generate], the more frantic their pursuit—which is one demonstration of the fact that there is no such thing as a benevolent passion for the equality [they claim] and that the claim to it is only a rationalization to cover a passionate hatred of the good for being the good.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
Schipani's argument is nothing more than the empty assertion of a specious claim. Mentors do not merely "put in a good word" they evaluate intelligence, skills, creativity, and character – none of which depend on irrelevant externals such as gender, race, or sexuality.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
Firefly,
There was an article on phys.org referencing a study that showed radical differences in the neuronal network methodology of men and women. Women network laterally and men think longitudinally.
Not quite sure where I'm going with this, but over-intellectualizing the situation seems counter productive...
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
What Schipani (and colleagues Terry Morehead Dworkin and Aarti Ramaswami) propose is the displacement of merit – forcing businesses in a coercive manner to promote candidates of lesser intelligence, skill, and competence simply due to their gender.

Schipani's empty assertion "What's critical is a mentor who sponsors you and puts in a good word for you," is not an argument, it amounts to mere evasion: the fact is individual merit is what the mentor sponsors – and not any irrelevant externals such as gender.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2014
Rational identification of Schipani's intent – which is to establish inequality by coercion, and to undermine and degrade basic freedoms (i.e. the right to free association) – is indeed counterproductive to the establishment of tyranny.
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2014
Naaaa just because it's a woman, does not mean that it ought to get the job.

And most women spend far too much time obsessing about sex, masturbation, porn and getting pregnant, to get much of anything done - that does not involve that.


I agree with your first statement (bear in mind that it too, cuts both ways. (I'm a believer in equality)), but your second one is kind of a headscratcher...You must be a saint. Or have ice in your veins. I certainly am not & certainly don't. ;D

Modify the above to:

"Naaaa just because it's a (man), does not mean that it ought to get the job.

And most (men) spend far too much time obsessing about sex, masturbation, porn and (not) getting (her) pregnant, to get much of anything done - that does not involve that."

I guess that we're not so different after all.....LOL

Cheers, DH66
PS, in case you haven't noticed, there are way more porn magazines out there for men, than there are for women! Bigger, more eager market perhaps..?
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2014
On a note in regards to the "droll and grossly obvious" …

If phys.org were the kind of site which attracted the immature, i.e. individuals obsessed with bodily-function commentary, such as the two notable examples "Lex Talonis" and "DarkHorse66" you would expect to see the site literally … plastered with their … dank ramblings, as such individuals are noted for their lack of self-control.

Evidentially, the site is not … so besmirched.

Notably this particular type of comment only appears here. On this thread only – and nowhere else on this site.
JohnGee
5 / 5 (3) Mar 17, 2014
Oh great Sagan, please banish this moron to idiot-hell.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Mar 17, 2014
the fact is individual merit is what the mentor sponsors – and not any irrelevant externals such as gender.

I guess that all depends on the personality of the mentor...
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2014
@ Whydening Gyre: Irrelevant to the question, really.

Argument of cause and effect: Mentors who promote candidates of lesser merit over superior candidates act against their own, and the corporation's interests. When those of inferior ability are found out via their lack of performance the bad mentor will be found out and removed from the corporation's mentorship program.

A corporation's success is determined by the good will of consumers who vote with their dollars. These dollar-votes depend on providing superior goods and/or services – a corporation that fails to provide these, fails in the market. Promoting insufficiently skilled, or the unintelligent, or those lacking in ability and creativity necessary to apply their skills, results in market failure via bad management. Consumers will take their dollars elsewhere.

[Continued ...]
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2014
[@ Whydening Gyre … Continued.]

Successful corporations which promote only meritorious candidates regardless of gender can provide superior employment opportunity and thus provide benefit to society – where totalitarianism and fascistic intervention which degrades freedom is never beneficial to society.

Note that in my argument of cause and effect it is the free will, and the uncoerced free choices of all individuals involved which leads to success.

An ignorant parity of numbers can never be superior to the informed free choice of individuals involved in the business of business management.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2014
In the ideal world, yes. But - that's not where we live.... yet...
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2014
@ Whydening Gyre

Apparently you suffer from some form of delusion or irrationality making you incapable of recognizing reality – thank you for making that clear, I shall refrain from any further response.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2014
@ Whydening Gyre

Apparently you suffer from some form of delusion or irrationality making you incapable of recognizing reality – thank you for making that clear, I shall refrain from any further response.

Perhaps you are right, Mal. As a long-time, self employed person I have not enjoyed the corporate culture for many years. perhaps it has changed since my time.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2014
@ Whydening Gyre,

No, not corporate culture. Reality.

If you deny cause and effect you deny reality itself. The law of causality does not permit effects without cause – all actions have a consequential effect, there is no evasion of this without evading the fact of existence itself. All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe—from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life—are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved.

The law of causality does not permit a man, or group of men, or any organization or institution, to act against its own interests without consequential effects.

No part of any statement or argument I have offered depends on "an ideal world."

My argument depends only on the fact of existence, on cause and effect. If your reason (or lack thereof) does not permit you to apprehend this then there is no further possibility of discussion.
Firefly Mal
1 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2014
What Schipani (and colleagues Terry Morehead Dworkin and Aarti Ramaswami) want to impose (by force) is a parity of numbers – when it may very well be that the candidates of merit in any given sample may not fall out in equal numbers. Regardless of this reality they would impose this ignorant parity – which means they would force people to act against their best interests.

You cannot achieve good, any good by any standard of measurement, for any one, by forcing people to act against their interests. The only thing you can achieve, by the means and methods, and for the reasons they advocate, is injustice.