Could this close the gender gap in the workforce?

Studies show that companies with women in senior management perform better than those without. Yet women are still much less likely to hold leadership positions than men. So, what gives?

Could this close the gender gap in the workforce?
Photo: International School of Management

The pane may be thinner, but the glass ceiling is still very much intact.

Women remain underrepresented at all levels of leadership, accounting for 48 percent of all entry-level positions but making up just 21 percent of C-Suite executives, according to McKinsey’s most recent Women in the Workplace study.

The statistics may seem bleak, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

A string of recent studies have found there is a positive correlation between women in senior management roles and overall company performance. In fact, all evidence suggests that a gender mix at the senior level significantly boosts the bottom line.

Further your career with an international business management degree

Despite this, women still face many obstacles when it comes to career progression.

The ‘boys’ club’ nature of business is just one reason often cited for why women find it harder to climb the corporate ladder. A tight-knit network of men, often formed at business school, can seem impossible to penetrate if you weren’t part of it from the beginning.

But that’s not the case at the International School of Management (ISM) in Paris, where 43 percent of the students in its IMBA, DBA, and PhD programs are female.

Along with teaching the hard and soft skills that every business leader needs to be successful, ISM helps students get into leadership positions by introducing them to business networks while they study.

“We are also connecting students to a community of like-minded people, who can mentor them and help them through the process,” explains Alison Knight, General Director at ISM.

And it's clearly working.

Just ask Kimberly Reeve, an alumnus of the PhD program at ISM. Her time at the business school successfully enabled her to develop a network that, since graduating, has become integral to her career.

“It gave me the chance to make professional connections around the world. Now I have access to other professionals and academicians in this space.”

Kimberly found the professors at ISM played a crucial role in helping her to take the next career step by introducing her to their own networks. 

“One of my professors helped me navigate the system and make connections at an academic conference. This provided me with opportunities to participate in additional academic research and writing.”

Discover ISM’s three international business management degrees

Before receiving her PhD from ISM, it had been one of Kimberly’s career goals to teach at college level. Since graduating, she has had the opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor at two colleges in New York City.

“Having both practical business experience as well as academic training helped me quickly establish credibility with my colleagues and students.”

Kimberly isn’t the only ISM graduate who has seen career progression following her studies.

The most recent ISM Alumni Survey shows that 50 percent of PhD program graduates had gone on to get a promotion, while 45 percent have seen a salary increase since graduation.

Likewise, 42 percent of the alumni of the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at ISM received a salary increase following graduation, with 42 percent getting a promotion in the two years preceding the survey.

For South African DBA candidate Sthu Zungu-Noel, an executive education at ISM has paved the way to career paths she may otherwise not have taken.

“The DBA broadened my view of things and allowed me to explore areas and opportunities I would never ordinarily have looked at,” says Sthu, who is the Founder and CEO of ZUZUTHO Consulting.

You're a leader. Where do leaders go next?

She believes her education at ISM is significantly contributing to her personal growth, along with giving her with the knowledge and confidence she needs to push forward with her career.

“I currently sit on a board of a great non-profit organisation and have found that my studies at ISM have tremendously enhanced my contribution to the board,” she says.

Much like Kimberly, the program has introduced Sthu to a whole new network of people and opened up more opportunities for her in the wider business world.

“I’ve met so many people and made new friends from all over the world in different fields and industries,” she enthuses, adding she has learnt a great deal from her new contacts.

Find out more about how an executive education at ISM can put you on the path to the C-Suite. Speak to a member of the Admissions Team.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by ISM.



Expat aims for gender balance in Danish tech

Bulgaria native Plamena Cherneva has created Codher to bring more women into the Danish technology industry and increase gender diversity within tech.

Expat aims for gender balance in Danish tech
Codher students hard at work improving their tech skills. Photo: Submitted

It’s no secret that Denmark has a rather good track record when it comes to technology. The small northern European country has consistently ranked near the top in studies comparing national technology industries and access to the benefits of the internet in an increasingly connected world.

In the past year Denmark has been named the world's most connected country, the most digital country in Europe, and was ranked number one in the world for green technology in a global report.

Yet the world of programmers and tech engineers has been plagued with one glaring issue: the lack of gender diversity. And not just in Denmark. At Google women make up only 17 percent of the technical employees, and at Facebook the figure is even lower at 15 percent. According to a survey conducted this year by Stackflow, out of the 26,000 programmers from 157 different countries surveyed only 5.8 percent identified as female.

Expat Plamena Cherneva is striving to bring gender balance to Denmark’s technology industry.

Cherneva came to Denmark from Bulgaria more than five years ago to pursue her ambitions in technology. But it wasn’t all roses and sunshine for her in her new home. 

“When I first came to study in Denmark, there were 20 students in my course but only two women including me. The only other woman dropped out before graduating due to a lack of support from the university,” she told The Local.

“It was certainly a struggle to graduate for me here in Denmark and to make a career for myself in technology. This was primarily due to the huge gender inequality I faced, which led to a lack of support and became a major barrier to developing a strong social network,” she continued.

This led to Cherneva taking the initiative to create Codher, a Copenhagen based organization that aims to “diminish the perceived barriers facing the IT industry and make it accessible for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the industry,” according to their website.

Codher offers workshops and seminars in programming, web design, IT project management and entrepreneurship. But the course offers more than just the educational side of technology, as Cherneva told The Local.

“Here at Codher we are not only helping students follow their academic ambitions, but we are supporting them and giving them a huge community within the world of tech, something I’ve felt is seriously lacking in Denmark,” she said.

Codher is not only available for women looking to get into tech, but to anyone wanting to get involved in the industry. The group has received support from many like-minded males.

“We don’t want to be labelled as some sort of new feminist organisation, so of course our doors are open to everyone. We are getting great support from men, helping us with organizing our workshops and mentoring our attendees,” Cherneva said.

Codher has already found a partnership with the Copenhagen based tech company Pandisign, which is are aiming to utilize the expertise coming out of Codher, and to improve the gender balance within the company. 

More about Codher can be found here