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Reflections on Women’s Progress into Leadership in the UK and Suggested Areas for Future Research

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sharon MavinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The paper provides an invited ‘Viewpoint’ from Professor Susan Vinnicombe, along with contributions from Professor Sharon Mavin, on women leaders’ progress on UK company boards and suggests areas for future research.Draws on data from the annual UK Female FTSE Board Report (2021) and the Hidden Truth Report (2022), tracking gender diversity on UK company boards. Professor Vinnicombe outlines reflections on progress and jointly we highlight suggested areas for future women-in-leadership research.We argue against continued use of the business case for gender diversity and suggest a research agenda for future women-in-leadership research concerning: gender aware Chairs of Boards and CEOs and men allies; access and appointment to senior board roles, and; bias in senior appointments. We suggest a return to examining barriers to women’s progress at middle management, the role of middle managers/leaders and the uptake and impact of established flexible ways of work at executive levels. New research is possible into how women leaders in top positions have positive influence on gender diversity yet are discriminated against by various publics. We recommend further intersectional research as a priority for women-in-leadership research to enable further theorizing and feminist progress.Professor Sue Vinnicombe has dedicated her academic career to questioning barriers to women’s progress in management/leadership, actively influencing organisational practice. Sue was influential in the field before her first co-authored papers were published in Women in Management Review (our predecessor) in 2001 and 2002. Professor Sharon Mavin is a previous co-editor of Gender in Management: an international journal. Her first papers were published in Women in Management Review in 1999 and 2001. Sharon is co-editor of the Special Issue, Women-in-Leadership Research and Feminist Futures: New agendas for feminist research and impact on gender equality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vinnicombe S, Mavin S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gender in Management

Year: 2023

Volume: 38

Issue: 2

Pages: 248-254

Print publication date: 22/03/2023

Online publication date: 19/10/2022

Acceptance date: 07/09/2022

Date deposited: 20/09/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1754-2413

Publisher: Emerald Publishing


DOI: 10.1108/GM-07-2022-0240

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/pevx-ad07


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