Internationalisation As a Catalyst For Empowering Women in Family Businesses

Whilst many people pay lip service to the goal of achieving equality between the sexes, the evidence makes it abundantly clear that for a variety of reasons – some obvious and some more subtle in nature – businesses tend to have male heads. And within family businesses, patriarchs often prefer, or feel somehow compelled, to hand on their businesses to their sons or other male family members. That said, family businesses can be powerful enablers for women in what is still predominantly a man’s world. In the FTSE 100, there are more CEOs called John than there are females with that job title. And yet women such as Johanna Quandt and Susanne Klatten at BMW, Cristina Stenbeck at Kinnevik, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus at the Louis Dreyfus commodities business, Liliane Bettencourt of L’Oréal, Alice Walton at Walmart, and Abigail Johnson at the Fidelity fund management business have all taken on positions of power in their families’ businesses.

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