Board experience could help more women rise to CEO roles, study finds

Recent growth in the number of women sitting on corporate boards could play a significant role in the number of potential female CEOs, according to research published in the Harvard Business Review.

For the analysis, researchers from Washington, D.C.-based Georgetown University compared how 100 female public company CEOs got to their respective leadership positions with the career paths of men in similar leadership roles. In their comparison, the researchers found women are more likely to serve on corporate boards than men, and women recruited from outside were almost twice as likely to be promoted from a non-CEO role than men. 

Specifically, 59 percent of the women researched served on a public company's board, compared to 42 percent of men. Nearly twice as many women (23 percent) served on a private company board as men (12 percent). Additionally, just 18 percent of outsider female CEOs were CEOs of private companies or public company divisions, compared to 52 percent of men.

"Together these findings not only illuminate a viable pathway to CEO for aspiring women (through board service) but also offer a suggestion for companies and boards that seek gender diversity in their CEO ascension plans: Assist high-potential executive women in securing corporate board seats," according to the researchers.

Read more here.

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