Report: Myths and barriers preventing the progression of women

The benefits of diversity no longer need to be proven. However, it is clear that gender inequalities persist, particularly in executive committees and among CEOs. This report, "Myths and barriers preventing the progression of women: analysis and solutions", developed by Mazars in partnership with the Observatory for Gender Balance, is designed for leaders who wish to concretely advance equality in their organisation.

In this publication, you will learn about the current gender diversity progression in the top management of European companies, hear from experts in the field to better understand the persistent myths that could explain the slow progress observed within the governing bodies, as well as testimonials from leaders, who share their knowledge, discoveries, observations, difficulties, solutions and convictions in this long quest for equity.

In addition, CEOs and top executives are invited to discover a practical new self-help tool, free in access, designed to quickly assess if their organisation has implemented the relevant gender diversity programmes, based on ‘six measures that work’ to accelerate gender equality.

Download the publication

The publication ‘The myths and barriers preventing the progression of women’ includes:

  • 8myths in question
  • 4testimonials from CEOs
  • 1self-assessment tool for determining effectiveness of corporate gender diversity measures

Eight myths debunked by experts

Given the slow pace of change, we wanted to understand the persistent myths that may be slowing down companies’ efforts to promote gender diversity.

After collecting a series of expert input and ideas, we chose to analyse eight myths in particular:

  • Myth n°1: “Women have no or less ambition”;
  • Myth n°2: “Motherhood is not compatible with a leadership position”;
  • Myth n°3: “The invisible woman” or “We can’t find competent female candidates in the talent pool”;
  • Myth n°4: “Women are risk averse”;
  • Myth n°5: “Part-time work is not compatible with leadership roles”;
  • Myth n°6: “Gender inequalities are mainly found at the top of the corporate ladder”;
  • Myth n°7: “There are men’s jobs”;
  • Myth n°8: “Quotas are not based on merit and unfair to men, and risk pushing incompetent women into key positions”

Accelerating gender balance: as a leader, where should I start?

When it comes to diversity, it has been shown that the quantity of measures is far less important than the relevancy of the measures for obtaining progress. It is therefore important that companies face persisting biases head on and understand whether they are putting in place the ‘right’ measures to achieve sustainable gender equity.

The Observatory for Gender Balance collaborated with its members to identify six measures that have proven their effectiveness in accelerating gender diversity in companies. And as a partner of the Observatory, Mazars has taken these measures and co-developed a self-assessment tool for CEOs and management teams: a concrete, educational and practical checklist in the form of a questionnaire which allows them to quickly assess if they have implemented all the ‘right actions’ – those that have proven their effectiveness – in their organisation.

It is available online here.

For more information, download the publication:

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Report - Myths and barriers
Report - Myths and barriers