Women must inspire next generation of female business leaders, says CMI

Inspiring the Future campaign aims to raise career ambitions for women who 'lack role models'

Women must inspire next generation of female business leaders

If you were at the Elite Business National Conference and Exhibition last month, you may have heard Karren Brady calling out businesses for not having enough women on their boards. The West Ham vice-chairman stressed that companies, regardless of their size, should be making better use of the skills and talents that women have to offer. 

But driving females into the boardroom first involves getting them into enterprise. This is where the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) comes in. Following the publication of its report, Women in Management: The Power of Role Models, the organisation is encouraging managers to rouse ambitions among young female managers. The report found 81% of women believing that having a role model helps raise aspirations, but 55% claimed there aren’t enough role models to choose from.

The report collated practical tips from some top female leaders in business, government, science and academia who can help younger businesswomen find their own role models, as well as insights about the managers who inspired them. Among the report’s recommendations for encouraging more women into senior roles were making diversity a business priority and getting mentors to encourage females to take more risks.

The survey also found that nearly twice as many male managers (7.1%) are aiming for CEO posts in the next two years compared to 4.0% of women. It concluded that many women are left uninspired and unambitious when it comes to their own career development because many can’t see examples of successful women in top management jobs.

The CMI is now calling on its members to help ‘inspire the future’ by providing mentoring or sponsorship to talented women or by signing up to inspire young people through the Inspiring the Future scheme. The initiative will match schools and colleges with professional volunteers who will talk about their jobs and help youngsters understand the working world.

The campaign aims to have 15,000 inspirational women, from apprentices to CEOs, signed up and talking to 250,000 girls by the end of 2014. The sisters should be doing it for themselves, it would seem. 

Dara Jegede
Dara Jegede

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