Every month we'll be posting a summary of research that has been done by TopFem members as part of the Leadership Programme (formerly known as the Talent Programme). This month the summary research is done by Daphne Dotsios, who conducted research at Deloitte.

The idea for a research topic came to me during a very interesting diversity breakfast meeting at Deloitte. On this particular early morning in November I would meet my mentors for the first time so I was slightly nervous but also very excited to attend the meeting. I met many ambitious inspiring women who had climbed the ladder, and who encouraged other women to do the same and to let their dream come true.

The message that caught my attention was the fact that very few women are in top positions in the boards of big companies. The higher they climb the ladder the more they face the closed old boys network. This is not a good thing. Everyone should have the chance to develop his or her ability regardless of what gender they are. Besides, research has shown that companies achieve better results when they have a more diverse board and business culture. This would become the topic for my research study.

The main question was ‘How can more gender diversity be achieved in the multi disciplinary service company Deloitte and what could the impact be on the business performance?’ Together with my mentors I set up a data collection method. During in-depth interviews I learned more about the business culture within the company. I made an analysis of the research about gender diversity in business cultures in general. I found data collections about gender diversity in the Deloitte database and complemented this research with the in-depth interviews. The sample I took is not representative for Deloitte as an organization but the results of the interviews confirmed the statistics about gender diversity of Deloitte.

During the research I learned a lot about the stories of the inspiring women and men who I interviewed. The data was very useful for the research but it was also educational for me as a student. I realized that there are opportunities for women to get to the top, but this fact is not enough. Women must also stand up and shout “I’ve done an excellent job and I’m worth this top position!”