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Female executives and corporate governance

What can be done to increase women's participation in WCF governance?

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Female executives and corporate governance

What can be done to increase women's participation in WCF governance?

Rechten:

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The problem definition on which this research is based arised from the increasing importance of gender diversity and more women participation in corporate governance. The objective of this research is to identify the factors that influence the gender balance within ICC’s World Chambers Federation. From this, the following main question arises:
“What can be done to increase women’s participation in the World Chambers Federation governance?”

To answer this main question, data was collected using a qualitative research approach with literature review and semi-structured interviews. While qualitative research allowed the literature review to give a better understanding of the data, theories and concepts of women in governance, the semi-structured interviews allowed to get the personal experiences and standpoints from the interviewees regarding the organization itself and the gender diversity issue.

The research presented the following main results:
- Over the years women’s roles have grown more prominent and the number of female directors has increased around the world, yet corporate governance is still dominated by men. When looking at WCF’s chamber members only 25.6% of all chambers has women in leadership positions in comparison to the 74.4% of men.
- Women face many challenges when trying to climb the corporate ladder. The key barriers they experience on the path to leadership positions are national cultures, undervalued or underestimated leadership skills, unconscious bias and stereotypes, and internal barriers like confidence and the imposter complex.
- Women bring several positive effects to the table like informational diversity, favoured soft skills in leadership positions that create a competitive advantage, and increased organizational performance.
- Interviews pointed out that organizations should implement gender mainstreaming, increase involvement and engagement of women, promote female leadership, and create network and mentioring possibilities for women in corporate governance.

The answer to the main question is that even though women are underrepresented in corporate governance and have less equal opportunities than men, the research has proved that more female representation affects organizations positively and that WCF needs to apply the four strategies mentioned in order to increase women’s participation.

As a recommendation, four different strategies are given. First, it is recommended to start including gender balance and diversity related agenda items and create an environment that will accept diversity as a strategy through gender mainstreaming.
Secondly, it is important to increase their involvement and engagement with the organization and its General Council by creating an environment that is inclusive and engaging for every member, and results in more confidence, especially for women, and a growing understanding of WCF and ICC’s mission.
Thirdly, WCF needs to create a culture in which women are encouraged to pursue leadership positions or participate in the elections by giving the women a voice in the council, and are assigned leadership roles in the working groups and taskforces.
Lastly, and most importantly, WCF needs to create a formal network of guidance and mentoring because whenever one joins there is a big learning curve and may be a barrier for women participating.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHZ University of Applied Sciences
OpleidingInternational Business
AfdelingDomein Business, Vitality & Hospitality
PartnerInternational Chamber of Commerce (WBO), Parijs, Frankrijk
Datum2022-07-31
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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