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Businesses need to use gender experts to develop training initiatives

Date: 11 Mar 2016

Citywealth

Gina Heathcote, senior lecturer in Gender Studies and International Law and chair of the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies, talks about three key things that businesses need to do to get more women into the leading positions.

What can we do to get more women into the upper echelons of the corporate world?

Women’s participation, or lack of it, is a problem in many sectors of our society, not just the corporate world. My work focuses on how we address women’s empowerment and develop strategies to increase their participation, in particular in government structures. With this in mind, I would say there are three key things that businesses need to do to get more women into the leading positions: companies need to strive to hire and promote more women, make considerable changes in their corporate policies that address gender imbalance, and use gender experts to develop training initiatives.

Is it just gender that holds women back from senior management roles or are other agents at play?

My academic research paid particular attention to young women and I found that gender acts as a power relation that works with other power relations, for example class, sexuality and race, to sustain privilege. It’s not only gender that holds women back; it can also be social background, access to education, or ethnicity.

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