The past 12 months, women have taken the lead in some of the toughest economic and political environments: Christine Lagarde became the first female to head the International Monetary Fund, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emerged as the key figure in solving the eurozone crisis and Maria das Gracas Foster has taken over at Petrobras, becoming the first woman to run one of the world's top five oil companies.
Despite these convincing examples, a recent research report from Grant Thornton shows that the world is having a lot of difficulty moving women up the management ladder. Globally 21% of senior management positions are currently held by women. Last year this was 20% and nearly ten years ago, in 2004, the percentage was 19%. Governments have over the past decade been quite aggressive in addressing diversity - with several countries (e. g.
France, Italy, Spain and Norway) even adopting quotas - yet the financial consulting firm concludes that the impact has been relatively marginal.
Despite various initiatives in the UK, female managers in our country are far behind compared to other countries. For example, in Russia, 46% of the top positions are held by women, ahead of Botswana, Thailand and the Philippines (all 39%). for comparison, in the United Kingdom, 20% of management positions are occupied by women. The UK is not at the bottom of the list. Other countries including Japan (5%), Germany (13%), India (14%) and Denmark (15%) score even worse.