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Female corporate leaders more risk aversive than male?

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More and more women in the corporate space are paving the way for superior leadership roles with firms realizing that the fairer sex are more risk-aversive and focused on long-term interests than their male peers.

According to a survey conducted by KPMG in partnership with `Forum for Women in Leadership` (WILL Forum), companies have agreed that women bring substantive diversity to company boards in terms of their composition, skill sets and experiences. The findings indicate that, a higher degree of persuasiveness exists among women executives in their willingness to take risks. These characteristics augur well in accelerating the pace of development of corporate strategies and providing firms with a shield against unforeseen events.

As per the report, women have time and again proved to be effective crisis management leaders. Women are more risk-aversive and also focus more on long-term interests than their male counterparts. "The survey and its findings suggest that corporate India seems to be working on traditional definition of hierarchical, conservative form of leadership, but Indian women professionals are definitely on rise and are paving the way for future generations," said Poonam Barua, Founder and Convener, Forum for Women in Leadership.

However, about 85 percent respondents stated that the existence of gender stereotypes was a barrier for women executives to break through, to reveal their true leadership potential. "Many aspiring contenders are especially reaping benefits of inclusion programs with specific women-centric initiatives that many organizations are embarking on. However, incongruent life cycle stages that women invariably go through do make their journey in the professional world both unique and challenging," Barua added.

Further, a whopping 87 percent of respondents agreed that striking a judicious balance between corporate life and family life is a predominant challenge that women management contenders are confronted with. About 91 percent of the top management people surveyed felt that mentoring and training would play a prolific role in developing and fine-tuning leadership skills.

The survey roped in 104 men and women who were under the ambit of `top management` in both public and private sector enterprises across different disciplines and sectors ranging from domains like IT/ITeS, hospitality, financial services and advertising to pharma and manufacturing among others.

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