Should Business Schools Do More to Support Women in Business? - IEDP
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Should Business Schools Do More to Support Women in Business?

Recognizing the importance of value, tone, diversity and a culture of inclusiveness


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President Obama spoke to US business school Deans this month about the need for businesses and business schools to be more inclusive and to better support women and working families. The summit hosted by the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Council of Economic Advisers considered best practices around ensuring access to business schools and business careers, preparing all students for the workforce of tomorrow, and exemplifying how organizations should be run to support diversity.

In conjunction with the summit, the Council of Economic Advisers released a briefing about the disconnect between the increased number of women in the workforce and the underrepresentation of women in the highest ranks of business, and how business educators have a critical role to play in shaping the leaders of tomorrow and facilitating diverse leadership.

That compensation and leadership disparities are as much a problem in the UK is revealed in a new report this week which uncovered that women earn 22 per cent less than men in equivalent, full-time positions. The UK-wide study was conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and wage analysts XpertHR, and involved a total of 72,000 participants. According to the report, women between the ages of 26 to 35 typically face a six per cent pay gap, while women over the age of 60 tend to experience a pay gap of 38 per cent. The report further revealed that the pay gap for professional roles averages at £8,500 per year, but rises sharply to £15,000 for women in managerial roles. The pay gap effectively translates to women working one hour and 40 minutes per day without a wage.

The Council of Economic Advisers briefing concludes that: “By being model employers, business schools can lead by example, creating opportunities for all workers to succeed, including recognizing the need for balance between work and family responsibilities, ensuring diversity in leadership positions, and recognizing the importance of value, tone, and a culture of inclusiveness.”

Business schools have of course been aware of the specific need to support women leaders for many years and most top schools offer exemplary executive education programs designed to help women build their skills on many fronts and to plan their future careers.

The Women's Leadership Program, at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is a good example and it is instructive to see how the School describes this program:

The Program

Blend your instincts and experience with accelerating techniques from the most powerful women in business. You'll study the behavior of individuals and organizations, refining key principles through case studies led by senior businesswomen and faculty members focused on corporate culture, communication, conflict management, leveraging differences, crisis leadership and decision-making under pressure. You'll customize these skills through simulations, workshops, a network assessment exercise and one-on-one professional and personal coaching. A wellness program and development of a personal action plan will round out your ability to assess and address your unique challenges and opportunities.


Where You'll Excel

•Strengthen your knowledge of strategy, negotiation, communication and leadership.

•Identify your leadership strengths and practice applying them across your current and future organizational responsibilities.

•Learn to actively manage your professional development and secure managerial support for innovative ideas and strategic opportunities.

•Build and strengthen critical networks and partnerships.

•Practice anticipating future industry trends and predicting their impact on your company's success.

Schedule & Topics

•Leveraging Your Personal Strengths

•Leadership: Strategic Change


•Success Amidst Conflict

•Leadership Presence

•The Effective Network

•Life Balance



You'll walk away from The Women's Leadership Program with:

•A list of your most powerful skills and how to maximize their effectiveness in uncertain as well as structured environments

•Your leadership profile and the role models who share it

•Hands-on workshops featuring new techniques to manage change, negotiate successfully, strengthen networks and lead your organization to greater profits

•A fully articulated voice and vision for personal and organizational development that includes a holistic approach to wellness


Read the full Council of Economic Advisers briefing

For over half a century, Darden Executive Education has served as a critical resource for businesses around the world, conveying the relevant strategies and specific business skills needed to formulate decisions, set action plans and apply sustainable options.

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