Women in Business

Understanding Women's Careers

Our aim was to explore the current situation for women by focussing on women’s experiences of their day to day business life. We purposely chose to limit the research to survey women only, although we believe that many of our findings could equally be attributed to men or women.

We explored a range of practical areas, including:

  • People who have helped and supported women in achieving their goals
  • Career promoters and hindrances
  • Critical incidents that have impacted on career development
  • Leadership style
  • Equality in relation to promotion and career success
  • Work life balance
  • Advice for women about career choices
  • Advice for organisations

The research involved a self-completion survey which was completed by over 1400 women – 39% of whom were senior managers and a further 30% were either directors or chief executives. These women worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors, both nationally and internationally and covered an age range of under 30 to over 60, (45% of respondents were 41 to 50). In addition to the survey we also undertook 20 in-depth interviews with senior women leaders, a few of whom are entrepreneurs who have built their own successful businesses, as well as a range of senior women in the public and private sectors.

Download the executive summary

A more detailed review of the findings appears in our book, Women in Business: Navigating Career Success  published by Palgrave in Spring 2012.

If you are interested in exploring this topic area further or would like to consider women’s leadership programmes yourself or coaching for your organisation please contact:

Fiona.dent@ashridge.org.uk  or Viki.Holton@ashridge.org.uk

Find out more about the Ashridge Leadership Centre