Why is Wonder Woman worth less than Superman

Pay gaps, the wrong role models, a weak talent pipeline and lack of self-confidence are amongst the biggest challenges holding back female managers, according to Women in Leadership, the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) first ever White Paper on gender issues.


The paper builds on the results of the National Management Salary Survey (NMSS), published annually by CMI and XpertHR, which in 2012 showed a lifetime pay gap of over £420,000 between female and male executives. High profile contributors include Cherie Blair, Baroness Prosser (Deputy Chair of the Equality & Human Rights Commission), Professor Susan Vinnicombe (Cranfield School of Management), Caroline Waters (ex-HR Director at BT) and Professor Tom Schuller (author of ‘The Paula Principle’).


As well as bringing together the very best thinking from business, management and academia, Women in Leadership also presents a range of practical recommendations, including:


For female managers

  • Identify your goals and what you want to achieve through your career at different stages, using tools such as the Grow model for coaching.
  • Assess your career development to date – are you fully satisfied? Does your vision match the reality? What are your options for getting there?
  • Look for opportunities. Assess the internal opportunities at your organisation, assess your skills and qualifications, build networks and learn to better negotiate your salary.
  • Keep an eye on your progress and continue to revisit your plan. What has been the result of your actions?
  • Inspire younger women by getting involved in your local school or taking on a mentee.

For employers and line managers

  • Measure and report on the proportion of women in your workforce, including at senior levels. Where there is little progress, act on it.
  • Create supportive networks andencourage mentoring opportunitiesfor female managers.
  • Prepare future leaders with the skills they need to do a good job at the top including training, experience and qualifications.
  • Enable women to be wives, mothers and carers by embracing flexible working at all levels.

For Government

  • Require companies who have transgressed to publish aggregated pay data at all levels within the business.
  • Focus on the talent pipeline, not just the boardroom: ensuregreater transparency from employers about the level of female representation at different management levels.
  • Inspire younger women’s career aspirations by integrating management and leadership development into the education and skills system at every level, as recommended by the Heseltine review.

The release of Women in Leadership marks both International Women’s Day (8 March 2013), and CMI’s own commitment to sign up to the Government’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ voluntary initiative, which aims to drive greater transparency around gender employment issues. CMI is also supporting women in the workplace with its Women in Management Network, which is the largest women’s network in the UK with over 7,500 members and offers events and support to female managers across the country, including through its Horizon Mentoring Programme.


On CMI’s signing up to the initiative, Minister for Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, said: “I am very pleased that the Chartered Management Institute have today signed up to the Government’s Think, Act, Report initiative.  More than 70 leading organisations across a wide range of sectors have already joined, including BT, Accenture, IBM, Network Rail and Marks & Spencer.   More than a million employees are working in companies signed up to Think, Act, Report.   By their public commitment to promoting gender equality, these organisations are leading the way and I hope others will follow their lead. 


“It is important that companies have a diverse range of people at every level.  What is good for equality is also good for business – quite simply companies make better decisions when their staff are drawn from the widest pool, as they understand their market and their customers better.”


Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, said: “The business case for more women in senior positions is clear. Research has shown having women at the top is good business sense: firms do better with diversity. Sadly, for many organisations, it seems that Wonder Woman is still worth less than Superman. Just look at the FTSE 100. With only two women CEOs, UK plc will continue to lose out on female talent if businesses don’t report on the progress and show what they are doing to tackle the issue.Women in Leadershipshould serve as a call to action for employers to tackle inequality – and reap the business benefits that come with it.”


Sandra Pollock, National Chair of Women in Management (WiM), said: “Women need the confidence to reach for the top and their employers need to support them along the way. It’s also vital for women to cheerlead other women through mentoring and sponsoring. Through our Horizon Mentoring Programme, we buddy up professional women to help them learn from each other, push boundaries and ignite their ambitions.”


A full version of the White Paper and a toolkit to help women managers – including management checklists and guidance on topics like mentoring – can be downloaded at womeninleadership.managers.org.uk. For more information about the Women in Management Network, visit www.wimuk.co.uk.

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Further information:

Laura Bates / Elizabeth Porter

Telephone: 0207 010 0817 / 0207 010 0851

Email: laura.bates@kindredagency.com / elizabeth.porter@kindredagency.com




  • The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body in the UK dedicated to promoting the highest standards of management and leadership excellence. CMI is the founder of the National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership and sets the standards that others follow


  • As a membership organisation, CMI has been providing forward-thinking advice and support to individuals and businesses, for more than 50 years, and continues to give managers and leaders, and the organisations they work in, the tools they need to improve their performance and make an impact As the only organisation to offer qualifications from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 8 (PhD), CMI is committed to equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge to be exceptional managers and leaders. Qualifications and accreditations such as Chartered Manager, combined with products such as CMI’s Continuous Professional Development scheme and the online support resource, ManagementDirect, support the development of management and leadership excellence across the UK. Through in-depth research and policy surveys of its 100,000 individual and 450 corporate members, CMI maintains its position as the premier authority on key management and leadership issues.