Gender equality within junior enterprises: the effect of President’s gender

gender equality business

(Matt Lee, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Maxime Delatte, the Executive Vice President of Solvay Consulting Club (SCC). The opinions discussed in this article belong to the writer.

Nowadays, gender equality is all over the news. Legally, culturally and organisationally, it is shaping today’s world. However, several factors are playing a pivotal role in bridging the gap between man and woman.

As gender equality is of growing matter within global organisation, a stretch to Junior Enterprise (JE) was a relevant category to be addressed. A Junior Enterprise is a non-profit organisation fully led and managed by students. Its goal is to professionalise the academic cursus of students through extra-curricular activities directly in contact with real-life companies. It’s linking professional practical experience to theoretical knowledge acquired in class. In today’s economy, JE’s are to be taken into account as undeniable entities as part of the business world; They account, in Europe, for around 15M EUR per year in turnover.

It all started with an anecdote during supper on a evening of October 2019. As board members from the Solvay Consulting Club noticed, this semester was surprisingly full of women within our club.   A long discussion followed therefore wondering whether it was due to internal or external factors; Is it a pure coincidence? Was our communication towards women better this year? Or is it linked to the fact that our president is a woman herself?

In 2018-2019, the Solvay Consulting Club had the pleasure to have a woman at its head. With regards to major KPI’s for the SCC 2020 vision, the long term action plan developed to ensure continuity, gender equality ranges first. As a matter of fact, this year was only the second time a president was a woman in the club’s 8 year existence.

From that point on, it was interesting to measure whether the president’s gender played a role in the recruitment of women within the club. In 2018-2019, the club welcomed 48 new consultants. Out of the 48 consultants, 30 were women. The year before, a man was president. Out of 53 members, 22 of them were women. The trends goes back over the past couple of years; In 2016-2017, the first semester saw 34 members with 19 women and a female president, whereas the second semester counted 28 consultants from which 10 were women. As you can guess, the president during the second semester was a man.

It is clear to the author that the president’s gender is of paramount importance in the recruitment of women being consultant. Therefore, one way to achieve more gender equally among members would be to elect a female at the head of its JE.

Some may wonder why throughout its existence, the association -The SCC- only saw 2 women president. First described by psychologists at the University of Michigan in 1973, Queen Bee effect depicts a woman in a position of power and authority, in a man-dominated environment. The effect becomes relevant to the extend that the woman in power treats her subordinates more harshly if they are female. This effect is under no circumstances internal. Indeed, gender equality is not hindered because of women themselves, but rather because of the behaviour and representation of male and female in business settings. As stated by Prof Ellemers who studied gender inequality in the workplace for 20 years, it is a response to sexism and a way to adopt male characteristics, in order to succeed. Even if it has been eluded in the last editions of the Deloitte Woman in boardroom analyses, this effect gained significant exposure as well as relevance in the literature.

Would it be possible that such behaviour is displayed in a structure like a student club? For the author, behaviours are changing and fortunately, at a even faster pace within a flexible and dynamic framework. That is, Junior Entreprise. Therefore, it is useful to be aware of the Queen Bee effect to ultimately better embrace gender equality.

As a final word, one may argue that the external validity of such observations do not hold true in every JE around the globe. It is indeed irrefutable and the reason why more data are needed.

About Solvay Consulting Club

The « Solvay Consulting Club » was founded in 2011 by Solvay students and high-quality partners from the consulting world such as McKinsey and AT Kearney. The club is based in Brussels, Belgium. The main objective of the Junior Enterprise is to provide companies with solutions in various domains; mostly Business but also Engineering. The SCC purpose is to create a real added value for companies along with giving first-hand experience to students.










the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

What cryptocurrencies will do to the integrity of politics

G20 LIVE: the EU trade gold rush continues as EU and Australia agree to launch Free Trade Agreement (FTA) live from Antalya Turkey

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

North Koreans trapped in ‘vicious cycle of deprivation, corruption, repression’ and endemic bribery: UN human rights office

Yemen: ‘Living hell’ for all children, says UNICEF; Angelia Jolie calls for ‘lasting ceasefire’

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

Human rights breaches in Iran, Egypt and Tanzania

EU agrees on Ukraine – Georgia visa-free travel amid veto risks and populist fears

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

This is how a smart factory actually works

International Literacy Day: What you need to know about youth literacy

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, UN forum told

UN Chief says ending poverty ‘a question of justice’ on International Day

Localized microfactories – the new face of globalized manufacturing

Special measures for Greece: 100% absorption rate

A day that Berlin and Brussels would remember for a long time

A neo-liberal toll free Paradise for the super rich and tax hell for wage earners

Why Africa must be ready to take the quantum leap

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Commitments Made to Reduce Black Carbon, Methane and HFCs

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

Why responsible consumption is everyone’s business

Denmark’s last circus elephants are retiring – here’s what might take their place

The IMF sees Brexit’s ‘substantial impact’ while the world’s economy holds its breath

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Hunger crisis in DR Congo, Swine Fever in Asia, Venezuela death investigation call, updates on Eritrea and Syria

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

‘Beyond reasonable doubt’, international court convicts notorious DR Congo rebel leader of war crimes

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Pakistan

These fishing pioneers are making it easier to eat sustainable seafood

Earth already has a perfect recycling system. So why not use it?

UN rights expert ‘strongly recommends’ probe by International Criminal Court into ‘decades of crimes’ in Myanmar

No tears for Cyprus in Brussels and Moscow

Portugal’s pension system needs to prepare for rapid population ageing

The US reject EU proposal for prudential financial controls

Companies ‘failing’ to address offline harm incited by online hate: UN expert

Only a few months away from the single European patent space

Do electronic cigarettes produce adverse health effects?

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

Japanese banks to move their European HQ from London to Frankfurt after Brexit

Eurozone: In vicious cycle of disinflation and unemployment?

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

Europe on the Move: Commission completes its agenda for safe, clean and connected mobility

Japan’s agro-food sector would benefit greatly from policies to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable resource use

Armed insurgency in north-east Nigeria ‘has created a humanitarian tragedy’

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

We’ll succeed together

Security Council discusses chemical weapons use in Syria following latest global watchdog report

Three myths keeping government procurement stuck in the past

New phenomena in the EU labour market

Guterres expresses ‘grave concern’ following explosion at large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

Easing US-China trade tensions could save millions of jobs: Asia-Pacific UN report

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

How tech can help businesses balance profit and purpose

Inspiring young doctors: the beginning of the change

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s