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Leadership progress for women stalls despite businesses taking more action than ever to increase gender diversity

78% of mid-market businesses globally are actively working on removing barriers to gender parity at senior levels according to the latest research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report.

The number of businesses driving initiatives such as ensuring developmental opportunities 34%, creating an inclusive culture (34%) and flexible working (31%), have all seen an increase across all those measured by the report. However, progress for the representation of women in senior leadership positions has stalled. Women currently hold 29% of senior leadership positions – the same as last year.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader, Grant Thornton International Ltd says: “It is extremely encouraging to see deliberate action taking place as mid-market businesses ramp up activities that encourage progress and accessibility to leadership positions for women. 2018 saw a sharp rise in the representation of women at a senior level after significant changes in the social climate of the western world however, this year’s numbers have levelled off once again highlighting that change at the top is glacial.”

The research reveals that Armenia is among those countries, where the proportion of senior roles held by women is slightly up this year. The number of senior leadership roles held by women moved from 22% to 23%.

Francesca says: “If we want to continue to see more women in senior positions, businesses need to be intentional. Policies that ensure diversity of thought at the decision-making table, that address equal opportunity in career development and bias in recruitment and develop inclusive cultures can’t just be a nice to have – they are a must. Once implemented, these policies must be enforced and regularly reassessed to judge their effectiveness. When that is combined with real commitment from senior leadership, only then will real transformational change take place.”

The full report "Women in business 2020: putting the blueprint into action" is available on:

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