Women in leadership

October 6, 2017

Professor Sharon Mavin, the new director of Newcastle University Business School, talks women in leadership

Professor Sharon Mavin has spent more than 20 years researching women in leadership and management, and is concerned that women remain underrepresented in these roles.

She reflects: “Men hold over 70 per cent of leadership and management roles in the UK, a figure that is at odds with the demographics of our society, and with educational attainment. It’s not that women can’t be leaders, women can, and do, lead in organisations, but they face a number of systemic cultural and structural barriers, which make this challenging. The proportion of men in leadership roles does not reflect the number of highly talented and ambitious women working across a multitude of industries. However gendered stereotypes emerge when women demonstrate their ambition for leadership – our ambition is unexpected. Likewise, when we show our competitive nature.”

Already engaged in mentoring young women in the North East – presenting research to the Government Equalities Office, and raising leadership aspirations within schools and company leadership programmes, Professor Mavin’s role at Newcastle University Business School will see her put research into practice, and lead on gender-inclusive leadership, with initiatives including the introduction of a ‘Women in Leadership Scholarship’ for its MBA programme, which has been AMBA accredited for 30 years.

For 2018 entry, this scholarship will demonstrate the school’s commitment to gender equality and developing influential women leaders, with a successful student receiving mentoring from the director over the course of the programme.

Sharon adds: “Involving men and women in changing expectations is critical to breaking down gender barriers. Not only is this future-proofing leadership talent, this is a key issue for our society.”

The Business School’s triple accreditation status is an accolade held by just one per cent of business schools worldwide.