This survey of 842 Australian business professionals debunks the myth that competing work-home priorities are the greatest block for women seeking senior management roles. This is still a big issue for many women, but a majority of those surveyed felt that management style differences between women and men were far more damaging to women’s leadership prospects. The key findings are:

  • Senior leaders do not value the different perspectives that women bring to a team
  • They appoint executives with styles more like themselves
  • Men are viewed as better “promoters,” women as better “collaborators” – and whose style is more effective is crucial to the debate
  • Women and men are viewed as equally effective at making commercially-sound decisions, managing high-pressure situations and delivering transformative change

Some 60% of all respondents to this 2011 study felt that gender-specific approaches to management situations and issues are a bigger obstacle to women’s career advancement. This group includes a majority of women, at 78%. Only 39% of men surveyed agree with this. A majority of men, 61%, believe that competing work-family commitments is the main inhibitor to senior leadership roles for women.

This is the second in a series of gender parity surveys by global management consulting firm Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women.

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