The objective of this course is to provide an analytical framework for understanding the barriers that women face on their path to business leadership and to provide tools for overcoming these barriers.

  • Start of the course - Open

  • Recommended duration 7 weeks

  • Estimated effort - 2 hours/week

  • Language - Spanish

  • Price - Free

This course is entirely online. The different units of the course will remain open 24/7 so that each student can complete the course at their own pace. The "Activate Female Leadership" course is open to any participant profile, although it has challenges specially designed for professionals, both men and women, who wish to optimise the opportunities offered by female leadership and the use of talent from the diversity of profiles within the company.

Course description

This course will help you to understand the background and constraints faced by companies, as well as by female candidates themselves, during their careers. The course offers different tools for both companies and women to enhance female leadership.

In addition to theoretical content, readings and reflection exercises, this seven-week course offers you the unique opportunity to learn about the experiences of Spanish leaders of recognised prestige in relation to the areas covered in the course.

Course structure

This unit looks at why gender equality is important and provides data on equality gaps in different countries and areas, such as business leadership. It also discusses the benefits of achieving equality and presents the business case for gender diversity. Finally, the concepts that will be analysed throughout the course are presented.

This unit analyses barriers on the demand side of companies' demand for women in leadership positions. It analyses issues such as: the glass ceiling and other business barriers, such as: search for similar profiles, use of stereotypes and lack of knowledge of the benefits of gender diversity (business culture, lack of leadership and role models and vertical segregation) and other problems: absence of leadership, token women, need for critical mass, glass cliff...

This unit analyses barriers on the supply side of women in leadership positions by women candidates themselves. Issues such as education, experience in leadership positions, work-life balance problems, networking, lack of role models, and other barriers such as "concrete ceilings" or the impostor syndrome are analysed.

This unit analyses the differences in leadership positions between men and women, as well as the effects of formal institutions (legislation and public bodies) and informal institutions (culture and social norms) on these differences. Among the formal institutions, the effects of equality policies on female business leadership are analysed, as well as the effects of different corporate governance codes, quota policies and the setting of goals or objectives by companies.

This unit describes some business strategies to promote female leadership. Specifically, it highlights some relevant initiatives to make female talent visible, transparency in selection processes, mentoring and sponsoring, inclusive leadership, etc.

This unit analyses tools that can help reduce individual barriers to female leadership by activating the supply of women candidates for leadership positions. For example, some initiatives are presented, promoted both by different governments and corporations, to reduce the gender gap in STEM training, female leadership programmes to develop senior talent and make it visible, the creation of networks of professional women, etc.

This unit provides data on the gender gap in some areas, such as entrepreneurship, politics and academia, and presents some specific challenges women face in accessing leadership in these spaces.

Academic direction of the course

  • Patricia Gabaldón

    D. in Economics from the University of Alcala, she is currently Professor of Economics at IE Business School, and Academic Director of the Economics Degree at IE University. An Excellence Fellow at the Rafael del Pino Foundation, she was also president of its Fellows Association and a member of its board of directors. Professor Gabaldón's research combines sociology and economics to understand gender and diversity issues in the decision-making of economic agents and the growth of countries. This research has been published in numerous prestigious journals, such as Harvard Business Review, Long Range Planning, or Journal of Business Ethics, while she has also collaborated with multilateral institutions and various media outlets.

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