Feature

Putting family first keeps women from the boardroom

Almost two-thirds of female directors believe that taking a career break to have a family puts them on the wrong side of the boardroom door.

Two-thirds of the 105 women directors interviewed by Praxis Executive Resourcing are convinced that women are treated equally, but this dramatically drops to 32% who believe women have equal opportunities to become board directors.

And it’s not a straightforward case of male oppression, suggests the report. The biggest reason for women not making it onto the board is a perceived lack of networking skills compared with their male counterparts, according to 68% of the respondents, followed by taking a career breaks (64%).

A lack of female role models (58%) and putting the family before career (48%) are also huge factors in slowing their progress up the greasy pole.

“It takes total commitment and a willingness to make a lot of sacrifices, particularly in your personal life,” says one respondent, a director of a large plc.

“A lot of my female friends and colleagues just aren’t willing to do that. Rightly or wrongly, they’re more interested in achieving a balance between work and the rest of their lives and that’s why I’m where I am and they’re not,” she adds.

Despite the negative comments, most of the directors are optimistic about prospects for younger women execs hungry for the top.


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This was first published in September 2006

 

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