BRITISH businesses have been given a call to arms after it emerged today that they lag behind Eastern European countries for gender equality.
Research has revealed UK businesses lag behind Eastern European firms for gender equality Experts have discovered that seven of the top 10 countries who have women in senior leadership roles are Eastern European – with Russia at the top. Vladimir Putin’s country has 40 per cent of senior business roles occupied by women – compared to 22 per cent in the UK.
This puts Britain 23rd out of 35 countries whose executive positions have been analysed by professional services firm Grant Thornton. The research was published ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday. Sacha Romanovitch as CEO Elect at Grant Thornton UK is the nation’s first female leader of a major advisory firm.
Seven of the top 10 countries who have women in senior leadership roles are Eastern European Businesses.
Grant Thornton CEO Elect Sacha Romanovitch said: “What can the UK, and the rest of the world, learn from Eastern Europe? Clearly there is no magic wand, but some of the recommendations we set out in our report – including changing societal norms around the role of women and eradicating gender bias – are directly drawn from what is working well in the region.
“Businesses need to create a bigger map of the world by broadening their horizons and opening themselves up to new thinking. The workplace needs to be more energising and aspirational if the demands of future generations of female leaders are to be realised. Old stereotypes of aggressive and hierarchal leadership no longer fit our world and the challenges we face. In fact, leaders who use skills such as collaboration, empathy, and flexibility, which are often stereotyped as female traits, may be best placed to drive future economic growth.”
Globally, 22 per cent of senior roles are held by women – this is slightly up from 2004 (19 per cent) but down from 24 per cent last year. Japan remains at the bottom of the list with eight per cent of senior roles held by women, followed by Germany (14 per cent) and India (15 per cent).
Ms Romanovitch added: “The domination of Eastern European nations is explained by a complex blend of factors including history, culture and demographics. A thriving culture of female entrepreneurship is a legacy of the Communist ideal of equality of opportunity and this extends into the broad range of subjects women study in the region. Consequently we find women well represented in services industries too; and not just those traditionally with high numbers of women like healthcare and hospitality, but emerging industries such as financial services and technology. Simple demographics are undeniably at play too. Russia, for example, has 120 women for every 100 men.”