Why Prominent Women in a Leadership Role are Hardly ever Replaced by Another Woman?

Simple demographic arithmetic is one reason why when a women CEO steps down, her replacement is a man. There are many more men in the higher echelons of the corporate world, a man is more likely to step into the shoes of a departing CEO.

Naturally, women CEO’s are not a new phenomenon and such CEO’s have a host of colleagues to help them perform in their respective executive role. Often women CEO’s are supported by the support staff consisting of men for the reason mentioned above, be it a COO, CFO or MD. So often when a woman Chief Executive Officer is replaced, she is replaced by her male counterpart as it’s easier for the company to make the transition.

Women are Less Likely to Have Springboard Leading to CEO

In executive positions of the corporate world women are not only grossly underrepresented when compare to men, they usually hold positions that are less likely to lead them to the top executive position in their company. Among C-Suite positions, women are most commonly found to be Chief Financial Officers, General Counsel, or the Head of Human Resources. Their expertise in such roles is less likely to lead them to become the CEO of the company. Not very often are the CEOs chosen from these positions.

Company Boards Are Comprised of Men

Often company boards are comprised of an older generation that still has a strong bias in favour of the masculine gender. For instance, in the corporate world, many companies boards are manned by men of an earlier generation including baby boomers or older. So much so that a law had to be passed to have at least one Independent women Director on board. When such boards are often still unaccustomed to seeing women as credible and competent leaders and are often responsible for deciding the person appointed as CEO.

Bridging the Gap

In many of the largest companies in India and across the world women are still perceived as nurturers and hence at times thought to be less suited for leadership roles. This view is more prominent among the older generation and far less so among millennials and the generation before them. Gradually there will be a fairer representation of women in the highest echelons of the business world as a younger generation of leaders more accustomed to working alongside and under the guidance of women populates the C-Suite positions across the world.

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