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Spire's six most recent media appearances.

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Flexibility – The pathway to female advancement in the workplace

+ Official Coverage on The Yahoo News Japan website

Yomiuri News (1 December 2014); JChere News (1 December 2014); Yahoo News Japan (2 December 2014)
Excite (2 December 2014); Livedoor (2 December 2014); Ameba News (2 December 2014)
Myanvi News (2 December 2014); Shokkagan Biz Lady (5 December 2014); Antenna (5 December 2014)

Flexibility – The pathway to female advancement in the workplace

In today’s world, many women wear two hats – as care-givers in the home and as breadwinners in the workplace. Many professional women aspire to develop their careers in the same way as men. Why then do so few women hold the position of CEO in large organizations? Spire Research and Consulting conducted a pro bono survey among women executives in China, Malaysia and India to understand the aspirations of professional women, the career impediments they face and what they feel should be done to overcome them. Our findings were published in the Japanese media: Yomiuri News, Yahoo News Japan, JChere News, Mynavi News, Shogakkan Biz Lady, Antenna, Livedoor, Excite and Ameba.

The world is witnessing a dramatic social change that is still incomplete. Today’s women are more likely to hold a paid job and enjoy more economic freedom than women in previous generations. But this change has come with a price – many working women feel torn between work and home.

According to Spire’s survey of 300 female executives and managers in three countries, approximately 90 per cent of women aspired to become corporate leaders – the figure was 85 per cent in China, 90 per cent in Malaysia and 98 per cent in India. But many survey respondents – 46 per cent in China, 55 per cent in Malaysia and 44 per cent in India – said that inflexible working hours prevented them from balancing work and family time. This was followed by the absence of adequate child-care solutions. Another problem was the inability of most companies to allow women to take a few years break from work and return to the same position. All of these factors tended to slow the progress of women towards the C-suite.

To solve these problems, most respondents suggested flexible working hours with work-from-home options. Other suggestions were to increase the availability of childcare at work, to create mentorship programs for women leaders and to establish anonymous company hotlines to report discrimination or harassment.

In addition, most women in India (51%) and a significant minority of women in China (23%) felt that they had no role models of female corporate leaders to look up to. This would damage the effectiveness and confidence of women executives in the workplace vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

Corporate, governmental and non-governmental leaders should study these findings in order to engineer better solutions to the problems that are holding back half the workforce.


Nidhi Singh
Senior Executive, Group Corporate Communications
Spire Research and Consulting
Phone: (91) 124 646 5499
E-mail: nidhi.singh@spireresearch.com

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