For many years, women have been underrepresented in the top tiers of the business world. Companies have used various tactics, such as offering childcare and flexible working hours, to encourage women to take on these jobs. However, colleges have taken a different approach. They have been working from the bottom-up by getting more women to enroll in M.B.A. programs and teaching their students about diversity and family-friendly working environments in these programs.
Sadly, these efforts have not had quite the effect that those who work in academia have hoped. This is evidenced by the fact that fewer women are enrolling in business-school than men. Additionally, fewer women are picking an education in business than in other professional schools, such as law or medical schools.
One school that seems to be doing it right is Insead, a business school that is located outside Paris, France. The business school has recently seen a drastic increase in the percent of females who attend it. In 2005, only 17 percent of the students were female; this year, the female population has increased to 33 percent.
“When women are only 17 percent of the group, they are far less likely to speak up,” said Herminia Ibarra, an organizational behavior professor at the school. “When they are over 30 percent you can be sure they are raising the issues important to them.”