УДК 336.71+368

M. Y. Shevtsova

Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University

Статтю присвячено дослідженню головних тенденцій в гендерній політиці європейських та українських компаній та пошуку шляхів максимального розкриття кадрового потенціалу.

Ключові слова: гендер, гендерна стратегія, гендерна політика, HR політика.

Статья посвящена изучению главных тенденций в гендерной политике европейских и украинских компаний и поиску путей максимального раскрытия кадрового потенциала.

Ключевые слова: гендер, гендерная стратегия, гендерная политика, HR политика.

The article is aimed to examine the main tendencies in gender policy of European and Ukrainian companies and find the ways of maximum disclosure of human resource potential.

Key words: gender, gender strategy, gender policy, HR policy.

According to numerous research and surveys conducted in recent years, there is a list of skills, characteristics, career approaches and psychological advantages and disadvantages that are attributable both to male and female managers. Lots of publications have been dedicated to the differences in male and female style of leadership. However, while the fact of gender diversity in leadership is formally admitted, it remains a complex issue for most organizations. The unique qualities of women-leaders, who transfigure the process of management, act and think differently than men, have not been recognized by the heads of the companies yet.

At the present, very few companies (10 % according to the latest research) [10] already have the official strategy or policy concerning working conditions of women in their company or their career promotion. Even less quantity of companies have internal informational resources, oriented for female managers. At the same time almost all company directors accept that women do need special adaptation period after maternity leave, it is also obvious that the issue of working schedules for women-workers, having small children, is a question to be solved. Noteworthy that many companies do not have any information concerning the experience of realization of such strategies or policy in other companies. It should be also noted that still there is no proper legislative norms regulating working conditions for women-managers and there are only few state programs for working women support.

Struggling to create equal working conditions for men and women in the company, HR managers often misunderstand the idea of equality and confuse it with sameness or uniformity. The efforts of HR management are to be aimed for opening maximum potential of each employee and gender issue should be taken into consideration as well as educational background or previous work experience.

The idea of bringing by managers the individual features to corporate managing style hardly is new [4], besides it still remains not clear what exactly differs women’s management style from that of men. Gender differences in self-reported attitudes and leadership styles of business executives were documented in a large amount of qualitative literature but only a few empirical studies in economics examine gender in management focusing on firms’ bottom line – profits or value – without much analysis of what women may be doing differently within the firms [8] . Companies that have chosen female leadership may not introduce this useful model elsewhere, because these companies may also be unusual in other ways. Selection of the matching female managers and directors to firms can bias simple correlations of female leadership and firm outcomes if, for example, more profitable firms are more likely to attract the highest quality women, or if the utmost potential of female talent is concentrated in specific industries. Experiments find that women are generally more altruistic [2] and long-term oriented than men, and survey evidence documents corresponding sex differences in corporate directors’ preferences and values [1].

The significant differences between male and female directors suggest that increase in women’s representation on corporate boards could have causal effects on firms’ outcomes. For example, Adams and Funk conclude that female directors, motivated by their more self-transcendence values, may lead their firms to decisions that are more stakeholder-oriented, such as maintaining their payrolls in periods of low demand, even at the expense of short-run profits. The large gender gaps in valuing conformity and tradition, possibly related to women’s exclusion from male social networks, may shed some light on Adams and Ferreira’s [1] finding that female directors are tougher monitors of CEOs; women may be more willing to go against the grain to challenge established practices. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Adams and Funk find no evidence that increasing gender diversity would lead to more risk-averse decision-making, suggesting that having female directors is less likely to affect a firm’s financial leverage or the risk profile of investment.

According to the survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012, the factors of successful career growth are similar for both men and women (see Fig. 1 ). Being active and initiative are both important for men and women. Among other issues that influence career promotion of women the respondents noticed being prompt and observant, communication skills and educational background.

“Women Matter,” a recent report by McKinsey & Company, based on four years of research about gender diversity in top management and corporate performance, underscores the bottom-line rationale for women in leadership. The global study suggests that the companies where women are most strongly represented at board or top-management levels are also the companies that perform best. The report maintains that preparing women for the executive ranks is an imperative for competitiveness, particularly as companies around the world vie to attract talented leaders who will take their business forward [9].

The global survey, which was conducted in December 2010, received responses from more than 1,800 human resource, talent management and diversity leaders at organizations throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific. It included a broad cross section of industries, with for-profit services, high-tech/telecommunications, finance/banking and durable manufacturing organizations representing the largest segments. Results from Mercer’s survey show that the majority of organizations not only lack a clearly defined strategy or philosophy for women’s leadership development, but also do not have any programs in place specifically targeted to women’s needs. Nearly half (47 %) of the employers surveyed globally indicated that their organizations do not offer any activities or programs targeted to the development needs of women leaders. While 21 % of organizations said they offer some activities or programs, only 6 % of organizations said they are planning to add programs and activities in the future.

Qualities and skills ensuring career promotion of men and women in the organization (% of respondents who specified mentioned factor as very important)

Fig. 1. Qualities and skills ensuring career promotion of men and women in the organization (% of respondents who specified mentioned factor as very important)

Source: Woman Survey 2012. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) [13]

In Western Europe, the countries with the greatest proportion of women in the executive suite amongst the sample group were Greece and Ireland (33 %) followed by Sweden (30 %) and Belgium (29 %). Spain, UK and France all had 28 % female representation. Next came Denmark and Portugal (both 27%), Finland, Switzerland and Norway (all 25 %) and Italy with 22 % representation followed by Austria (21 %), Germany (20 %) and the Netherlands (19 %).

The influence of cultural factor is obvious: in Saudi Arabia, for example, it is impossible to see a woman at top-managerial position. (Table I.I.). Only 7 % of women are among top-managers in Qatar, 16 % in Egypt, surprisingly, but Egypt is followed by the Netherlands. In spite of the fact that The Netherlands are very progressive country as for the equality of sexes, the women there very often prefer part-time job as well as in the UK. Apparently such a schedule defines low rate of female top-managers since employers normally do not tend to promote part-time employees.

One of the highest rates for women represented on top-managerial positions belongs to post socialist countries. In the top of the list there are Lithuania (44 %) and Bulgaria (43%). According to Sophie Black «Equity is a heritage of soviet era when both culture and politics encouraged women’s self-realization and expression. However, soviet ideology was replaced by market economy that increased enlargement of the gap between women’s and men’s condition for the benefit of the latter in post-socialistic countries» [10].

In February 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers together with Association of Managers of Russia made the research in order to examine prospects and problems of career growth for women in business and follow the dynamics of career opportunities for women in 2008–2012. 82 companies took part in this investigation by distant survey. The selection was represented by large Russian and foreign companies acting in Russia: 18 % – industrial sector, 43 % – service sector, 15 % – financial sector, 25%– others (with total staff 8300 persons).

On the Figure2 is represented the share of women in top-managerial positions within last 4 years.

Table1 Proportion of senior management in European countries ranked according to percentage of women in senior executive or management roles


Total quantity of the companies

Quantity of employees

Quantity of women top managers



2 172

44,00 %



4 652

43,00 %



18 828

40,00 %



1 786

37,00 %




37,00 %



2 482

36,00 %



4 120

35,00 %



5 823

34,00 %



1 319

33,00 %



16 313

30,00 %



13 393

30,00 %



6 525

29,00 %



35 907

28,00 %

Great Britain


15 386

28,00 %



6 207

27,00 %



5 200

26,00 %



13 879

25,00 %



2 054

23,00 %



18 144

22,00 %



1 840

21,00 %



22 659

20,00 %

The Netherlands


7 342

19,00 %



4 524

17,00 %



1 963

16,00 %




7,00 %

Saudi Arabia


3 456

0,00 %

Source: Mercer , 2012 [10]

According to the research, further issues must be pointed out:

- within last year the share of women occupying positions of General manager and Financial manager has increased significantly;

- the share of women chief accountants, HR directors and marketing directors remains traditionally high (these positions are considered as women’s in Russia and Ukraine);

- women are considered as more loyal to their employer, they change the job less often which is one of their key advantages in the eyes of employers;

- another advantage is being eager to work hard for less salary.

The development of adaptation strategy for working mothers still remains one of the key issues in HR management of the company. There is a good sign: within last two years the share of the companies that held the programs for working mothers almost doubled. (See Fig. 3 ). Moreover, already 45 % (against 36 % in 2011) provide the opportunity to working mothers to work at home one or even several times a week. The share of the companies providing the medical insurance not only to the working female managers but also to their children and family increased as well (35 % in 2012, 21 % – in 2011). The employers also started to care more and spend more funds on coaching, female development and programs of psychological support for women.

Share of women on top managerial positions 2008–2012

Fig. 2. Share of women on top managerial positions 2008–2012

Source: Woman Survey 2012. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) [13]

Among the programs initiated in 2012 by such companies, as SAP, there are:

• Production by executive board targets for women in management positions in their respective Board areas.

• Emphasizing recruitment, retention, promotion, and mentoring of women. Specifically, designing ways to enhance women’s networks and better connect them with promotional opportunities.

• Introduction of gender intelligence workshops for managers globally. Designed for joint participation of men and women, these workshops examine how to get past gender assumptions to promote greater inclusiveness, communication, and collaboration.

Nevertheless, in spite of these figures, looking rather optimistic, and the most quantity of the companies – 78 % – still do not offer any adaptation program for women coming back from their maternity leave. Within last year the quantity of such companies increased only by 1 % – from 9 to 10 %. So, what are the main problems for working women that remain to be solved?

The toughest issue is related to arranging of working hours and schedule for managers having small children together with their adaptation to working conditions in the company after coming back from the maternity leave. Most of the women are also concerned with the absence of programs for professional development of working women and their career growth.

The biggest challenges for women in leadership role today pertain to work-life balance, lack of role models, lack of opportunities for career advancement and lack of support from upper management.

There is a need to improve women’s leadership development and the effectiveness of their programs through actions such as establishing formal programs for women leaders (coaching, mentoring), promoting development for all potential leaders, placing greater emphasis on younger-generation leaders and launching affinity groups.

What are the programs for women existing in the company?

Fig.3. What are the programs for women existing in the company?

Source: Woman Survey 2012. PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) [13]

Another problem faced by women is stress caused by role conflict or multiple roles. There is a work/family conflict that particularly affects working women. It is extended work hours. Women are stressed realizing that their children feel lack of sensitive, responsive care from overworked parents. It is proved that Research has determined that working women with rigid schedules report more family difficulties than working women with flexible schedules. It has been determined that there is a relationship between the lack of job flexibility and depression. It has been reported that, “when family responsibilities expand, mothers are more likely than fathers to change jobs, to work part-time, or exit the labor force for a spell because families cannot afford to lose fathers’ wages. The result is often a decrease in mothers’ financial and occupational attainment. [7]. For example, women may choose to work fewer hours than men in order to spend more time with their families. Women also measure success in the workplace differently than men. Men tend to measure success by high salaries and important job titles whereas women place a higher value on their relationships with colleagues and community service.

Nowadays, some companies recognize that employees have a life outside of the office. These family-friendly organizations offer options such as flex-time, onsite child care, employee-assistance programs, and telecommuting options for their employees which allows their workers to have a better chance of balancing their home and work lives. The problem lies in the fact that not all employees want to work in a family-friendly organization. Some employees who do not have family obligations may resent their company offering services that do not apply to them. One of the first steps in determining what employees want in the work place is to determine how people define career success. Women and men tend to use different types of measures when determining what makes a career successful. Organizations need to adopt a culture that will allow them to stay competitive but also allows their employees to maintain a balance with their lives outside of the office. Employees should be encouraged to take advantage of work-family programs that are offered in their organization. Unfortunately, women may feel reluctant to take advantage of these programs as they feel it may lessen than chance for success within the company.

According to research made in 2012 by International consulting organizations, an important obstacle for career growth of women remains the system of values of the women that is still based on gender stereotypes, mainly, stating that family is more important that professional development. Very often women refuse offered top-position because of lack of support from the side of their company of balance between family and career. However, lately according to the same research employers start realizing that some of the issues that affect working women also affect working men. Employers now understand that remedying these problems would therefore benefit their entire workforce and increase productivity. This is especially true concerning family management issues. Family management is becoming the job of both parents. Workplace policies are beginning to reflect this.

Lately women have progressed significantly in their career but the numbers are still showing that a lot of questions remain outstanding. As women keep on expanding the limits of corporative culture, and getting involved in top management activities, companies will have to admit the value of female work force. To step over existing gender stereotypes in career will be possible when companies begin to realize underutilizing of their management resources and start concentrating their efforts on creating an encouraging and fairly supportive and competitive environment for their employees.


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Надійшла до редколегії 06.08.2012