PhD defense: The underrepresentation of women in management and board

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On Friday 23 September at 12.15 hrs. Drs. Ans Merens will defend her PhD thesis Een lange weg. De ondervertegenwoordiging van vrouwen in management en top nader verklaard (A long way. The underrepresentation of women in management and at the top explained).

Although the number of women in top and management positions has increased in the Netherlands over the past twenty years, there are still far less women than men working in such positions, especially in large companies. How can this be explained? This question is central to Ans Merens' dissertation Een lange weg. De ondervertegenwoordiging van vrouwen in management en top nader verklaard.

Lower rise to top positions because of part-time work and little overtime


For this research project people were followed for a long time, and it shows that especially the lower rise of women to managerial and top functions is a cause of the underrepresentation. The exit of women from top and management positions is as high as that of men, so this is not the cause of the low number of women in top and management positions.

The unequal relationship between women and men in management and top positions seems to be mainly determined by the fact that women work part-time much more often than men and that in many companies part-time leadership is not common. It also appears that working part-time - and working little overtime - is unfavourable for future opportunities to rise to managerial positions.  This is probably because employers often regard part-timers as unambitious. The number of hours that people work also makes a difference. Working in large part-time jobs offers increases the chance to rise to managerial positions compared to working in small part-time jobs.

Coherent diversity policy is an important condition


Furthermore, Merens shows in her dissertation that actual involvement of the top in the diversity policy and the establishment of concrete goals with an action plan are important conditions for getting more women in management and top positions. Moreover, it turns out that not one specific measure but especially a large number of different measures within an organisation can ensure that more women will work in management and top positions, for instance by employment conditions (e.g. the possibility of working at home) and career policy (e.g. the provision of management training).

Drs. Ans Merens is researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) and an external PhD student at the Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E).

Start date and time
End date and time
Location
University Hall, Domplein 29 Utrecht (guests) and online
PhD candidate
Drs. J.G.F. Merens
Dissertation
Een lange weg. De ondervertegenwoordiging van vrouwen in management en top nader verklaard
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. J.J. Schippers
Co-supervisor(s)
Dr. C.L.H.S. Remery