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With International Woman’s Day on 8th March 2012, and the EU committed to improving the number of women on executive boards, data issued by Mercer shows the extent to which women are under-represented in senior executive and management positions across Europe.
Mercer analysed data on 264,000 senior management and executives in 5,321 companies across 41 European countries, and found that the ratio of senior executives and managers that were female averages 29% in countries across Europe compared to 71% of men.
According to Sophie Black, Principal in Mercer’s Executive Remuneration team, “For a gender comprising over half the global population, women’s representation in senior corporate roles is woeful. The cause is complicated. It’s cultural, social, in some cases it is intentional discrimination but it can also be unconscious - the desire to recruit people like you. This unconscious bias is hard to eradicate. The end result of all these issues is a creation of a ‘pyramid of invisibility’ for women in corporate life.”
“A woman’s career also receives a ‘maternity penalty’ in the eyes of employers for prioritising childcare duties over work. Corporate culture plays a huge part in causing women to deselect themselves from corporate life. If the culture of a company is such that those holding senior roles are expected to act in a certain way or place work above family commitments, then women will often turn their backs on the corporate ladder.”