The promotion of women is about fairness. And about money.

While women and men in non-managerial positions are almost evenly distributed, the proportion of women in top management is just 15%. Even when employees are promoted to the first management level, women are considered significantly less often than men. With the Female Leaders Seminar, the University of St.Gallen wants to counter this state of affairs. A drop in the ocean or a sustainably effective programme?

Even the rest of the world is no different, as a UN report shows: Women are still underrepresented in top management. Only 5% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. The economic equality of women is good for the economy. Companies benefit from greater effectiveness and increased growth if they have women in their management teams – not just a single woman, but at least a third of the entire management team. And so the question arises, why are there not more women in management positions? And what can be done to change that?

There are various reasons for this in Switzerland. At the political level, we have a tax system that gives couples with children zero incentive for dual employment. The supply of (affordable) daycare places is also limited. And the social component also plays an important role. The man is still regarded in society as the breadwinner and the woman as the supporter.

But companies also play an equally important role. Here, the unequal distribution of part-time work on the one hand and stereotypical role expectations on the other have an influence on promotion decisions. If a woman becomes a mother, she is often automatically put into the “no interest in career” drawer, whereas a man’s career interest is usually assumed.

Many women take a break from working when they become mothers and have difficulty getting back in after a few years. With the very successful Women Back to Business Programme, the University of St.Gallen has been supporting women on their way back to work for over 10 years. But how can women be supported who have been professionally active for years but are not progressing in their careers?

Executive School Programmes:
Open Programmes

Women Back to Business

The management programme for women on the move.

Women often lack the network to advance professionally and/or are not “visible” enough to senior management. With the new “Female Leaders Seminar“, the University of St. Gallen is the only university in Switzerland to offer a seminar in German for women only who have the potential and the desire to reach the upper management levels. Leadership competence, negotiation skills, presence and impact, stakeholder management as well as storytelling are the essential components of this 3-day seminar. In addition, the participants will receive three hours of individual coaching and peer coaching, and of course they benefit from a valuable network. The seminar will take place from 21 to 23 November 2019 in St.Gallen. The seminar is a first important step in bringing more women into management positions.


Cheryl. Women CEOs of the S&P 500 (2014).

McKinsey & Company, Women Matter: Time to accelerate. Ten years of insights into gender diversity 2018.

Universität St.Gallen, Advance Women in Business. HSG & Advance Gender Intelligence Report 2018.