Women are still not progressing into executive, CEO or board roles in substantial numbers. We argue that gendered forces operating at societal, organizational, and individual levels inhibit the accumulation of valuable career capital. These forces, typically in combination across a variety of contexts in the life-cycle, create substantial and cumulative limitations upon the ability of women to access and to accumulate the capital required to progress into executive roles in firms. We define this valuable capital for the role of the senior executive and explore the timing and interplay of critical forces that limit the acquisition and development of valuable capital for women. In particular, it is proposed that these forces can be mitigated by the corporate elite who, as board chairs and CEOs, can enhance the ability of middle and senior female managers to access and to acquire the additional valuable career capital required to progress to executive leadership roles.
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