12 January 2015 | Report

Women in Business and Management: Gaining momentum


The Women in Business and Management: Gaining Momentum report from the International Labour Organization brings together available data and statistics in 2015 to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date and global picture of women in the business world and in management positions.

The report underlines the fact that women’s presence in the labour market is increasingly significant for economic growth and development at both national and enterprise levels. It seeks to demonstrate the benefits that enterprises stand to gain in recognising and supporting women’s talent. As women surpass men in educational attainment in most regions, they represent an incredible talent pool and national resource.



  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of acronyms
  • Introduction
  • Business case for more women in business and management
  • Women in management
  • Women at the top
  • Women on boards
  • Women in business
  • Gender pay gap
  • Women in decision-making in the public sector
  • Women making strides in education
  • Barriers to women’s leadership
  • Policies and measures to advance women in business and management
  • Initiatives to advance women in business and management
  • Way forward
  • Bibliography
  • Useful websites
  • Statistical annex


  • Women are running more businesses, and consumer-spending decisions are increasingly in their hands. These realities often seem to be overlooked, even though there is an intensive search for global talent and skills as economies are more and more based on knowledge and technology.
  • The report shows that women still have to deal with a number of hurdles to reach positions as CEOs and company board members. While they have advanced in business and management they continue to be shut out of higher level economic decision-making despite the last decade of activism to smash the “glass ceiling”. A wide array of initiatives challenging gender stereotypes, corporate cultures and lack of measures to reconcile work and family responsibilities are discussed and the report calls for a closer examination of the career paths of women and men to ensure that subtle gender biases are eliminated from the very first assignment.
  • The report stresses that a wealth of resources, good practices, organisational structures and networks are already in place. And, while progress is slow, women who are appointed to the highest positions attract media attention, creating new role models. More concerted efforts and advocacy are needed to share information on the benefits of utilising women’s talent and skills at all levels, including in the boardroom. While many multinational companies are already on this track, a major challenge is to ensure that national firms, especially medium and large sized firms, receive advice and tools on how to advance women and improve their business outcomes.
  • National employers’ organisations have a strategic and timely role to play as the business world is on the cusp of recognising how women’s contribution to economic decision-making can make a positive difference to the “bottom line” and business performance

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