Boosting the "economic power" of all women in society is a key way women can at first reach – and then stay – in the boardroom, according to a new global study.
After examining which factors are key to getting women higher up the on the corporate ladder, the study found that this "economic power" is often determined by factors outside the workplace, such as education and progress their countries have made in gender equality and labor force participation.
The research, which was commissioned by BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management and conducted by Cambridge University's Judge Business School, looked at 1,002 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list across 41 countries spanning six continents and 51 industries, between 2004 to 2013.
A country's collective values and beliefs about gender equality, humane orientation and assertiveness were bigger influencers on a woman's economic power than were previously understood, the study found.
To a lesser extent -- but still significant -- the quality and availability of maternity and paternity benefits, flexible hours and the right to return to work, were another set of key drivers for both getting women on board and keeping them there.
The top performing countries for female economic power were found to be Australia, Norway and Denmark. The U.S. came sixth in the list of top countries while Saudi Arabia, India and United Arab Emirates and Qatar are amongst the lowest.