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I am honored to be part of an outstanding panel of expert faculty in the Global Network Perspectives to comment on the barriers to women fully participating in the economy in their countries.

According to a recent survey of business students and alumni conducted by the Global Network of Advanced Management, “women remain underrepresented in business leadership roles worldwide, and intriguing variation across the globe, and even across industries within the same country suggests that there is more to blame than a monolithic culture of patriarchy.”

As representative of Spain, I discuss how women need to find ways to overcome the invisible barriers to full participation in the workplace and describe our study comparing male and female MBA students working in “learning teams”.

The starting point is one popular statistics found in a Hewlett-Packard internal report: -men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the requirements, but women only apply when they are confident they can meet 100% of them. How can women boost their confidence? To address this issue, we examined women’s response to critical feedback from peers. The surprising finding –women absolutely take feedback to heart.

As published in Harvard Business Review and illustrated in this video, women more quickly align their views of themselves to match others’ opinion. After getting critical feedback from peers, the average woman saw herself almost exactly as her peers saw her. That means, women’s self-confidence decreased over time.

In conclusion, women´s greater openness to peer feedback is a mixed blessing. It increases their self-awareness and authentic leadership, and improve their chances of promotion. The downside is that it also may block the very same confidence is intended to boost.

To read the full article, click here.

Question: What do you think are the obstacles to women in the global workforce?

Margarita Mayo

I´m Margarita Mayo. I´ve been a Professor of Leadership and Psychology at IE Business School since 2000. Prior to that I was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University and professor at Ivey Business School. I feel passionate about scientific dissemination, and I have more than 20 years of international experience teaching courses on soft skills, giving keynote conferences and coaching executives on leadership development and change management. Always eager to help develop the next generation of leaders.

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