How to Smash the Glass Ceiling for Women

In our earlier post ¨Better Ideas for Women in Top Positions¨, we were wondering if we can design better ideas to get a more proportional representation of women in board of directors.

We presented three thinking tools or approaches and some examples how to get ideas by using them. Here are some more.

Redefine the problem

The problem is also that the required competence and experience of top people (men) is grossly exaggerated.

This could lead to the idea that candidates for top positions are no longer selected by education, followed training courses, hobbed jobs and stories in the business circuit, but are subjected to a simulation game in which they have to prove their qualities objectively

The problem is that the need for leaders is exaggerated.

Even great leaders have limited knowledge, ideas, ways to solve problems and visions. Thus, the problem is not too few women in top positions, the problem is our stubborn instance of believing in an old-fashioned way to run a company.

Setting up Provocative Operations


PO: Leaders should be made.

This might solve the problem with the selection process, no gender biases since no leader need to be selected based on their previous experiences. 

Instead the focus is on creating a working environment where every member has a role to play to make it a success. The members are chosen that have the skills to work well together as a team. There is no need to pay anyone more since all members of the team are responsible for creating a great working environment. Like surgeons deciding the best options to keep the patients well and alive.

PO: Make top positions hereditary

The difference with the existing situation is that now there is no such thing as a qualifying selection process, so no gender bias can be introduced, nor is competence a criterium. However, it turns out that many family owned companies are very succesful over generations and also have often female ceo´s. This could lead to the idea that companies target their recruitment efforts on family members of family owned companies who are second or more are in line of succesion.

A Beautiful Question

What if there was no need to judge people by their previous experiences?

This could lead to a different selection process where a number is randomly selected and the person is trained to do the job.

We can if …we think as top positions as parttime jobs

In boards of directors, the number of women must be equal to the number of men and there must also be sufficient competent women. We can if …we think as top positions as parttime jobs. Females can have more than one top job in different companies. Or jobs can be divided between men and women. More women will be available for top jobs

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