WOMEN are under-represented in leadership positions in many countries around the globe. The GMI Women on Boards survey revealed that South Africa ranked fifth globally in 2013. Despite this ranking, females only held approximately a fifth of all local directorship in 2015. The average female board membership for the 200 largest companies globally was also less than 20% at the time.
These relatively low levels of female board representation could be ascribed to, amongst others, gender stereotyping, the so-called glass ceiling and biased nomination processes. Nomination committees still rely heavily on the “Old boys’ club” to identify board candidates. Family responsibilities might also hinder some women’s progress to the top of the corporate ladder.
When contemplating work-life balance, some women experience conflict in deciding which career goals to pursue. Females typically feel more anxious about the sacrifices required to be effective leaders than their male counterparts. As a result, some women make a conscious decision not to pursue directorship positions. Others are obstructed from reaching the top by fellow women who exhibit the “queen bee syndrome”. These women are unwilling to share their hard-earned positions with other females.