Europe Scores High on Study of Women in Business

Europe leads world in women in high places in business

Europe leads world in women in high places in business

A new study released by the research firm Grant Thornton shows that countries in Europe lead the international community in numbers of women in leadership roles in business. The study came out in time for International Women’s Day, and offered 12 recommendations to improve the proportion of women reaching top level position, which has stagnated over the last decade.

Women in Business: The Path to Leadership, shows that Russia tops the list of countries with women in top tier jobs in business. The report shows that 40 percent of those senior roles are held by women in Russia, the highest percentage in the world. The next five countries all neighbor each other and are the following: Georgia with 38 percent; Poland has 37 percent; Latvia with 36 percent; Estonia has 35 percent and Lithuania in sixth place with 33 percent.

CEO of Grant Thornton, Sacha Romanovitch happens to also be the United Kingdom’s first woman leader of a key advisory firm. She commented on the findings of the research:

“The domination of Eastern European nations is explained by a complex blend of factors including history, culture and demographics. A thriving culture of female entrepreneurship is a legacy of the Communist ideal of equality of opportunity and this extends into the broad range of subjects women study in the region. Consequently we find women well represented in services industries too; and not just those traditionally with high numbers of women like healthcare and hospitality, but emerging industries such as financial services and technology.

“Simple demographics are undeniably at play too. Russia, for example, has 120 women for every 100 men.
“What can the UK, and the rest of the world, learn from Eastern Europe? Clearly there is no magic wand, but some of the recommendations we set out in our report – including changing societal norms around the role of women and eradicating gender bias – are directly drawn from what is working well in the region.

“Businesses need to create a bigger map of the world by broadening their horizons and opening themselves up to new thinking.  The workplace needs to be more energizing and aspirational if the demands of future generations of female leaders are to be realized.

“Old stereotypes of aggressive and hierarchal leadership no longer fit our world and the challenges we face. In fact, leaders who use skills such as collaboration, empathy, and flexibility, which are often stereotyped as female traits, may be best placed to drive future economic growth.”

The international average for the numbers of women in leadership positions in business is only 22 percent, only slightly higher than the 2004 number of 19 percent. But the percentage is down since last year, when 24 percent of high level jobs were filled by women.

Japan has the worst number, with barely 8 percent of women in top tier jobs.

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