Studies & Research: the importance of female leaders and how to create them

It takes confidence to become a leader and research has shown that not only are women needed on Boards, but they also make better leaders. A UK study shows that “strong market growth among European companies is most likely to occur where there is a higher proportion of women in senior management teams.” But how do we create the much needed female leaders? We need to start by learning so much more about our precious girls.

• The Canadian Women's Foundation has just (November 19, 2014) completed a study that has shown that youth mentorship is a strong driver of confidence. Read their press release to learn what they discovered.
• The Canadian Women's Foundation also gathers statistics and research and then assembles it into fact sheets which are updated on a regular basis. The current fact sheet Moving Girls into Confidence will open your eyes about our Canadian girls. The better you understand the girls, the better you can help them. This is a must read.

Little girls doubt that women can be brilliant, study shows (The Globe and Mail, by Maria Daniova, January 27, 2017) This study is causing a great deal controversy especially as it shows that in one year their belief system changes – at 5 the girls believe their own gender is brilliant, but by 6 they believe men are inherently smarter. It is being suggested that starting school plays a part. For more information, check out Gender Equality.

Continuing on the confidence path, you will find this article The Gender Confidence Gap in STEM Education (January 9, 2015) most interesting. After crunching data collected from their online STEM Q&A Platform, Piazza determined that a gender confidence gap exists between their users. The study collected data from over 976,000 STEM students in over 1,000 schools and the results are alarming.

Fighting gender stereotypes: Ten rules for raising active girls (The Globe and Mail, by Sara Smeaton, April 29, 2017) Dr. Dean Kriellaars, professor at the University of Manitoba’s College of Rehabilitation Sciences, has found that a huge divergence in skills between boys and girls emerges as early as Grade 4. According to his research, of all the fundamental skills, girls only outperformed boys at skipping.

There are fewer women leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based careers because there are fewer women in STEM based career and many glass ceilings are strongly in place. A new study (January 2015) On The Origins of Gender Human Capital Gaps: Short and Long Term Consequences of Teachers' Stereotypical Biases by Victor Lavy and Edith Sand for the National Bureau of Ecomonic Research explains why. Lavy and Sands state, "In this paper, we estimate the effect of primary school teachers’ gender biases on boys’ and girls’ academic achievements during middle and high school and on the choice of advanced level courses in math and sciences during high school. For identification, we rely on the random assignments of teachers and students to classes in primary schools. Our results suggest that teachers’ biases favoring boys have an asymmetric effect by gender— positive effect on boys’ achievements and negative effect on girls’. Such gender biases also impact students’ enrollment in advanced level math courses in high school—boys positively and girls negatively. These results suggest that teachers’ biased behavior at early stage of schooling have long run implications for occupational choices and earnings at adulthood, because enrollment in advanced courses in math and science in high school is a prerequisite for post-secondary schooling in engineering, computer science and so on. This impact is heterogeneous, being larger for children from families where the father is more educated than the mother and larger on girls from low socioeconomic background."

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR Women on Boards by The Conference Board of Canada (a must read – just click)

Here is a sample of what is found in this business case. Look at these statistics in Canada. We need to start now if we want to improve the situation. Our girls need to know that they can reach these levels and are needed at these levels. This is taken from the PDF.
Women on Boards: An Untapped Competitive Advantage
– Women make up almost half of the Canadian labour force, and yet:

How does this stack up globally? In 2011, Canada ranked ninth among major industrialized nations in the representation of women on boards—down from sixth place in 2009.
Canadian companies can take action and make change happen. Read on. Women on Boards You can be part of the solution.

The Canadian Board Diversity Council each year assesses the state of diversity in Canada’s boardrooms. The Council’s definition of board diversity expands the traditional definition of industry experience, management experience, education, functional area of expertise, geography and age to also include such factors as gender, ethnicity, aboriginal status and disability. The annual survey (click her to read the results for 2014) focuses on insights into these last four elements. The questions asked in each year’s survey provide everyone with the facts, so one can have an informed business conversation about board diversity in Canada.

The 2014 survey reveals more women than ever before are sitting on boards. It also reveals the number of board members who are visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities is at the lowest level since we began the survey in 2010. Women now hold 17.1% of FP500 board seats, up from 15.6% in 2013 and 14.4% in 2012. The pace of change over the last two years is more than four times the .32 percentage point average pace of change between 2001 and 2012. However, this improvement belies the truer picture of diversity. Visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples make up 19.1% and 4.3%, respectively, of Canada’s population, according to a 2011 Statistics Canada survey. In contrast, 2% of board seats are held by visible minorities; and, 0.8% are held by Aboriginal peoples. For more information, follow this link.

In the study “The State of Women in Construction in Canada” funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program and published in February 2010 not only conducted research, but also site research. They state that the literature reviewed for their own research showed repeatedly that high school girls see themselves as lacking the intelligence and ability for science, trades and technology careers.

Additionally, they state that several studies have reported that girls are systematically streamed away from science, trades and technology careers by the very educational pathways intended to expose them to opportunities in these sectors and that studies have found that gender stereotypes are reproduced in high schools in students’ interactions with teachers and career counsellors.

A recent McMaster University study found women to be better corporate leaders because of their decision-making abilities. Studies by Catalyst determined companies that achieve gender diversity and manage it well, attain better financial results. In fact, “Companies with the highest percentages of women board directors saw a 16% higher return on sales and a 29% higher return on invested capital than companies with the lowest representation.”

Visit the Catalyst knowledge centre Research drives all that Cataylst does, which is why it is the most-trusted resource for knowledge on gender, leadership, and inclusive talent management in the business.

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