Women in Leadership

How the Internet is Helping Women Achieve and Maintain Top-Level Management Positions

Rose Rivera asked:

Having the ability to embrace diversity and incorporate change quickly is one of the greatest determining factors of success for companies today. Changes in workforce composition and the medium of conducting day-to-day business activities are two key factors that need to be fully considered and addressed by managers at all organizational levels. In particular, more women are occupying top-management positions, in part due to the proliferation of e-businesses.

According to an article published in the Journal of Leadership Studies (2000), online businesses are providing a way for more women to become top-level managers. Because e-businesses are still a fairly new frontier, they are breaking many of the “traditional” pathways to becoming CEOs or Company Directors. These positions were often handed down from one man to another via familial or social networks, creating the “glass ceiling” effect that many women encountered during the 1980s and 90s. However, since the introduction of the more egalitarian culture, strongly supported by e-businesses, such networks are largely frowned upon and women are encouraged to pursue top-level positions (Klein 2000).

However, the link between women in top-level management and the internet seems to go both ways. Not only do e-businesses facilitate the insertion of women into these positions, but women who have made it into these top- level positions in more “traditional” companies are now leading those companies toward the internet.

Ann Moore, Chairman-CEO of Time Inc., is a perfect example of a women who has taken over a very “traditional,” male-dominated company and is now spearheading an initiative to take things digital. Not only did she preside over the launch of, but she is currently working towards a new health portal that should rival WebMD (Business Week 2007). Moore is trying to create a place for Time Inc. to prosper in the future by staying abreast of new technologies and remaining competitive without dragging the company down in the process.

Regardless of the particular circumstances, it is necessary for managers to make pro-active decisions that allow their companies to change with the times, be it more women in top-level management or a greater reliance on technological advances such as the internet.


Klein, Esther E. The Impact of Information Technology on Leadership Opportunities for Women: The Leveling of the Playing Field. Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 7, 2000.

Moore, Ann. Edgy Days at the Top of Time Inc. Business Week, 2/12/2007. Issue 4021, p23-23, 1p, 2c.


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