Women on executive and board levels in South Africas finance sector : why so few
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study presents an empirical investigation that was conducted on why the number of women on executive and board levels in companies is not consistent with the number of women in the workforce. The barriers which women face in career progression were explored by focusing on three main themes, namely internal, societal and organisational barriers. The research method used to evaluate previous and current research was content analysis which provides a definitive correlation between current challenges that women face and how they have progressed over the past 20 years. The research further provides insight in what changes companies and government can incorporate to ensure that the gender gap is closed over time. Analysis shows that although the number of women on executive and board level has improved during the past ten to 15 years, it remains disconcertingly low. The type of barriers which hindered women from reaching the upper management positions some time ago, are still the same reasons that keep them in the lower ranks in the business. Findings have indicated that the strongest internal barrier is that women struggle to balance family obligations with the severe requirements of top positions in business. It was also found that some women do not perceive the male-dominated structures and discrimination in companies as a threat but rather see it as a challenge which strong women can overcome if they believe in and equip themselves. Although some companies have made progress in supporting women and invite women onto their boards and executive teams, the attempt is still not enough to close the gender gap. The present study concludes with recommendations on what women, male colleagues, companies and government bodies can do to increase the number of women on upper levels in the organisations.