BBC 2024-03-06 16:32:09


Super Tuesday: Trump must earn our votes, Haley says as she quits presidential race

Mike Wendling

US reporter

Yesterday’s Super Tuesday was the last set of contests overseen by this chair of the Republican National Committee – Ronna McDaniel.

She’s stepping down and Friday is her last day in the office. Her co-chair Drew McKissick is also stepping down.

Party chairs – there are two Republican co-chairs, one man and one woman – support campaigns and drive fundraising.

McDaniel, 50, is a long-time Trump supporter, despite being the niece of a notable Trump opponent, Utah’s Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

But she has come under increasing pressure after Trump’s loss in 2020 and the party’s underwhelming performance in 2022’s midterm elections. More recently, the party has struggled to match the Democrats in fundraising figures.

The party will now choose their replacements in an election. Trump’s favoured candidates are his daughter-in-law, Lara, and the party’s North Carolina chair Michael Whatley.

Key takeaways from Super Tuesday results

Super Tuesday wasn’t as super this year due to a slew of predictable results, but there were a few surprises and some warning signs for Donald Trump and Joe Biden ahead of their expected rematch in November.

Here are some of the key takeaways after millions of voters in 15 states and American Samoa chose their preferred party candidates for president.

Full steam ahead for Trump

He posted a dominant performance, with wins in states across the country. “They call it Super Tuesday for a reason,” Mr Trump told supporters in Florida. “This is a big one.”

Some of the victories were staggering in their size: a 70% margin in Alabama, 61% in Texas, some 70% of the vote in California.

The former president will walk away with a near-insurmountable lead in convention delegates, even if he will have to wait until next week to mathematically lock the Republican nomination.

Exit polls give some indication of why the former president won so big.

  • LIVE – results and analysis
  • Trump and Biden dominate Super Tuesday

In North Carolina, 43% of Republican primary voters said immigration was the most important issue for them – a topic that has been at the top of Mr Trump’s political agenda since he launched his first presidential bid in 2015. In Virginia, 64% said that they trusted Mr Trump over Nikki Haley on border security.

Those Virginia primary voters also said they wanted a candidate who shares their values and fights for people like them- qualities that tilt toward Trump – over temperament and electability.

Electability was one of Ms Haley’s central pitches to voters. It apparently fell flat.

But there were some alarm bells

Despite the big win, there were indications of continued disaffection with Mr Trump among some Republican primary voters.

In Virginia and North Carolina, Ms Haley continued to do well in counties with large numbers of young, suburban and college-educated voters – and some of their concerns registered in exit polls.

Forty percent of Republican primary voters in Virginia and 32% in North Carolina said that Mr Trump – who faces four criminal cases – would not be fit to be president if convicted of a crime.

Among North Carolina Haley voters, only 21% said they would vote for the Republican nominee “no matter who it is”.

Late on Tuesday night, the Haley campaign pointed to such results and issued a warning. “Today, in state after state, there remains a large bloc of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump,” a spokeswoman said.

Of course, opinions could change in the heat of the autumn general election campaign. Back in 2016, exit polls found that 75% of non-Trump voters in the Republican primary said they would be dissatisfied with Mr Trump as the eventual nominee.

But in the end, 90% of Republicans backed him against Hillary Clinton in the election.

Nikki Haley’s Vermont surprise not enough to keep her in race

The former South Carolina governor chose not to hold a public event on the evening of Super Tuesday, perhaps reflecting the campaign’s belief that there would be little to celebrate from the day’s results.

She could have held a victory party in Vermont where she pulled out a narrow win, her second victory of the primary season.

She campaigned in Burlington on Sunday alongside the state’s popular Republican governor, Phil Scott, who said Republicans, independents and Democrats should join together to stop Mr Trump.

  • Haley scores surprise Vermont victory over Trump
  • Voters views: ‘I wish younger candidates had a chance’

In Vermont it worked. In all the other Super Tuesday contests, however, there simply weren’t enough anti-Trump voters – even in states like Virginia that allow non-Republicans to vote in the party primary – to translate into wins or even narrow defeats.

Weeks ago, Ms Haley pledged to stay in the race until Super Tuesday, hoping to add to her delegate total. But that was the end of the road.

On Wednesday morning, sources in her campaign said she will be dropping out of the race, with a press conference scheduled for later in the day.

Earlier this week, she said she did not feel committed, despite an earlier pledge, to support Mr Trump if he is the party’s nominee.

Will she ultimately back the former president, despite her recent sharp criticisms? Is she angling for an independent presidential bid? With all the drama now stripped out of the nominating contests, the South Carolinian’s future is one of the few immediate sources of mystery.

More on the US election

  • Explained: A simple guide to the US 2024 election
  • Analysis: Where Biden v Trump will be won and lost
  • Policies: What a Trump second term would look like
  • Economy: Voters feel better – will that help Biden?
  • Recap: The Trump life story to date

Biden struggles to shake Gaza protest vote

In the Michigan primary last week, more than 100,000 voters – 12% of the total – turned out to cast ballots for “uncommitted” instead of the incumbent president, as part of an organised Gaza war protest.

That phenomenon reared its head again on Tuesday. In Minnesota, “uncommitted” garnered approximately 20% of the vote and topped that mark in the counties around Minneapolis, the state’s largest city.

In North Carolina, one of the few true general election battleground states on the Super Tuesday schedule, 12% of voters opted for “no preference”.

“Tonight’s numbers showed that President Biden cannot earn back our votes with just rhetoric,” said Vote Uncommitted MN spokesperson Asma Nizami. “Over 35,000 Minnesotans made it clear that Democrats want Joe Biden to change his policies.”

Pro-Palestinian groups are already targeting next week’s primary in Washington state, which has a sizeable left-wing activist population. If the Biden campaign was hoping that Michigan, with its large population of Arab-Americans, was the beginning and end of the anti-Biden protest vote, Tuesday will have been a rude awakening.

Anthony Zurcher offers his weekly take on the world of American politics:

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Haiti gang leader threatens ‘civil war’ if PM does not resign

The gang leader behind the violence blighting the Haitian capital has warned there will be a “civil war” if Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, does not step down.

Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier made the threat as members of his gang tried to seize the capital’s airport to stop Mr Henry from returning from abroad.

Unrest has spread to other cities with a prison riot reported in Jacmel.

Thousands have been displaced by the violence.

Barbecue, who leads the powerful G9 gang alliance, said on Tuesday that “if Ariel Henry does not resign … we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide”.

The G9 alliance has unleashed a wave of violence, including attacks on police stations and the storming of the country’s two main prisons. Thousands of inmates escaped in a mass jailbreak on Saturday.

  • How gangs came to dominate Haiti

Haiti has been blighted by gang violence for years. But while Prime Minister Henry was on a visit to Kenya last week, Barbecue escalated the violence.

Mr Henry was aiming to agree a deal for Kenya to lead a multinational police operation to quell the violence in Haiti.

Barbecue fears Mr Henry would use the forces to stay in power.

The gang leader has been opposed to the prime minister since he took over power shortly after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, without an election.

Critics of Mr Henry argue his rule is illegitimate. They also point to the fact that two and a half years after coming to power he has still not organised presidential elections, as he had originally promised.

The prime minister has not spoken publicly since the violence erupted. He has only retweeted the declaration of the state of emergency decreed by one of his ministers in his absence.

Mr Henry’s whereabouts were unknown for days until late on Tuesday, when he flew from New Jersey to the US territory of Puerto Rico.

Reports said he had planned to land in the capital of Port-au-Prince, but the airport remained closed due to the fighting nearby.

The director of the civil aviation authority in neighbouring Dominican Republic said he had denied Mr Henry’s plane permission to land in the country because it lacked a flight plan.

Haitian media report that Mr Henry is now seeking alternative routes back into the country.

It is not clear what gang leader Barbecue’s longer term aims are. On Tuesday he urged Haitians “to unite”.

“Either Haiti becomes a paradise for all of us, or a hell for all of us,” he told journalists, wearing a bullet-proof vest.

In the past he has suggested created a “council of elders”, a group of civil society representatives from different regions, to replace the prime minister.

Haiti has no elected government officials. No elections have been held since 2016 in the country.

The vacuum created by the lack of elected officials has been filled by gangs, who are estimated to control around 80% of the capital.

Kidnappings for ransom are common and many schools and hospitals have had to close due to the lack of security.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it had to temporarily suspend its mobile clinics in several sites.

“We fear we will run out of medicines and medical supplies, which are absolutely essential to meet the enormous needs we are facing at the moment,” MSF head of mission Mumuza Muhindo Musubaho said.

Violence has so far been mainly concentrated in the capital and its environs. But there have also been reports of shootings in the town of Jeremie, in the south west, and of a prison riot in Jacmel in the south.

The United Nations Security Council said it would hold an emergency meeting later on Wednesday to discuss the violence.

According to the United Nations, some 15,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.

Haiti: The basics

  • Population: 11.5 million (estimate)
  • Area: 27,800 sq km (slightly smaller than Belgium, about the same size as the state of Maryland in the US)
  • Location: Caribbean country sharing a border with the Dominican Republic
  • Languages: French, Haitian Creole

A race car driver’s guide to a weekend in Jeddah

Racing driver Reema Juffali reveals how to spend a memorable weekend – during the F1 Grand Prix or beyond – in her hometown, from relaxing on the Corniche to finding the best eats.
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For a port city, Jeddah has a surprisingly laid-back feel – something Saudi Arabia’s first-ever female racing driver, Reema Juffali, attributes to the influence of the ocean.

“The beach and ocean play a huge part in Jeddah’s psyche,” said Juffali, who was born and raised in the metropolis – the gateway to Mecca for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year. “We have a huge coastline and incredible marine life here which means being in the sea, swimming, fishing and diving. They’re all part of daily life and that slows down the pace a lot.”

A true trailblazer in a highly male-dominated environment, Juffali smashed boundaries when she became the first Saudi female race car driver, yet these days gender doesn’t feature so much on her radar. “I don’t think of it as guys and girls,” she said. “I just want to race and beat the person in front of me.”

Making her racing debut in 2018, just a few months after Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers was lifted, Juffali remembers how “heads would turn, people would stare” when she removed her helmet after a race, but now she just wants to let her racing do the talking, hoping to inspire more Saudi Arabian women to get into the driving seat. And as supporters go, her hometown and its residents champion the racer wherever she goes ensuring the city lives up to its namesake. “Jeddah is derived from jaddah which means ‘grandmother’ in Arabic,” said Juffali, when we asked her how to spend a weekend in this beautiful city. “Like a grandmother, the city welcomes everyone. It’s a hospitable, unique, homely, very welcoming place full of many cultural influences. Everyone should visit, at least once.” 

Here are Reema Juffali’s top six picks for planning a memorable stay in her hometown of Jeddah.

Locals and visitors like love coming walking along the Jeddah Corniche to gaze at the Red Sea and enjoy a day at the beach (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

1. Best way to soak up the atmosphere: The Jeddah Corniche 

To get the best understanding of the city and an immersion into local life, Juffali recommends strolling or picnicking on the idyllic 30km stretch of coastline known as the Jeddah Corniche on the Red Sea – also home to the F1 Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The area close to the race circuit in particular is “full of energy and has a certain buzz to it”, said Juffali. “It’s the best area to be when the F1 is on even if you don’t have a ticket.”

The Corniche is also home to a beautiful coastline and expansive leafy parks, so Juffali likes having picnics with friends and family by the ocean as the sun sets over the Red Sea.

For beach days and swimming, she recommends heading over to OIA Beach Resort for total relaxation. Juffali said that growing up, she spent a lot of time on the beach, in the water – “even on the ocean fishing with family” – so much so that it became an essential part of her daily life. She noted that the area is “incredibly rich for sea-life” and that “it’s a great place to snorkel.” 

Website: https://www.oiabeach.com/
Address: 2688 Prince Abdullah AlFiasal St, حي اللؤلؤ، 8984، Jeddah 23821, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 12 213 3336
Instagram: @oiabeach

Jeddah’s Old Town is an architectural treasure, home to such marvels as the 19th-Century Nassif House Museum (Credit: Alamy Stock Photos)

2. Best cultural experience: Jeddah Old Town

When she’s not chilling on the Corniche, Juffali likes to take in the beauty of the city’s architecture in Jeddah Old Town (Al-Balad). “The architecture of Nassif House Museum with its Ottoman-style design is absolutely mesmerising,” said the racer of the standout building that dates back to the late 1800s.

Designed by a Turkish architect, the former residence of 19th-Century Jeddah city governor, Sheikh Omar Effendi Nassif, features a clever underfloor cooling device whereby rainwater is collected and stored in cisterns lowering the temperature of the lower levels of the house – an important addition in a city where temperatures rarely dip below 20C. As well as showcasing ancient Arabic calligraphy and rare paintings, the museum also houses over 16,000 books that belong to the library of King Abdulaziz University. Juffali recommends visitors to the city add Nassif House to their itineraries since it’s a “beautiful place where you can walk around and get a better understanding of the ancient and fascinating history of Jeddah.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Juffali said that the work of some of Saudi Arabia’s great artists can be found in Hayy Jameel, describing the arts complex as, “a kind of modern art space where you can catch a movie, join a workshop or stroll around an exhibition.” As a bonus, entry to the space is free for all. 

Website: https://hayyjameel.org/Address: Arwa bint Abdulmutalib Street, Al Muhammadiyah District, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 12 228 3430
Instagram:@hayyjameel

Jeddah has many lovely neighbourhoods, which make finding a home base a snap (Credit: Alamy Stock Photos)

3. Best neighbourhood to stay in: As Salamah and Ash Shati

Abounding with stylish eateries and boutique hotels that fuse traditional Arabic design with avant-garde quirks, Juffali considers the suburbs of As Salamah and Ash Shati the best places to stay when visiting Jeddah. Both areas are “well connected, offering easy access to everything that makes this city so unique,” said Juffali. “[And they’re] overflowing with traditional restaurants and cafes.” Juffali particularly enjoys hanging out at the Shirvan Hotel City Yard – “a kind of lifestyle hub that utilises Saudi Arabian heritage and design, but in a cool modern way” – and Shada Hotel, which according to Ruffali, has “such a fun vibe with lots of colourful art, quirky brushed concrete walls, parquet flooring and a roof-top swimming pool”.

The family-run Shada Hotel is a big supporter of South Saudi heritage, showcasing it in all its glory by selling locally made homewares and trinkets in its on-site store, making it well worth swinging by, even without a room reservation.

Website: https://shadahotels.com/alshatea-jeddah/Address: Ash Shati, Jeddah Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 55 4480 779
Instagram: @shadahotel

Dates are a delicacy in Saudi Arabia, especially during Ramadan (Credit: Alamy Stock Photos)

4. Best places to enjoy Jeddah’s cuisine: Al Nakheel and Twina Park

As well as cars, Juffali is passionate about eating. “Food is such a huge part of our culture,” she said. “And since we have so many influences from our neighbouring countries, Saudi Arabian cuisine is kind of a delicious melting pot. The food scene is unique because the city is so multicultural, and the hospitality is incredible. It’s like nowhere else.” 

For local delicacies, Juffali adores Saudi dates (Bateel is her preferred brand), and cardamom-infused Saudi coffee – so much that they’re the only items she insists on taking with her whenever she’s travelling.

And for eating out, Juffali recommends Al Nakheel – a family-style restaurant on the Jeddah Corniche, which serves spicy food from the Hijazi region in a lush palm garden – her top picks being the grilled lamb chops or “any of the kebab dishes”. Alternatively, Juffali heads to Twina Park, a tony yet traditional restaurant that specialises in locally-sourced, fresh seafood, where she orders the fried fish served with shrimp and red rice.

On days when she just wants a quick, but satisfying meal, Juffali suggests AlBaik, the hugely popular Saudi fast-food chain. It serves “the tastiest fried chicken served in a foil tray”, said Juffali. “It’s so popular that “people wait around 20 to 30 minutes for it.” And for a quick street-side snack, the famed Saudi dish, balila, consists of boiled chickpeas served warm with various spices and herbs and is almost always topped with pickles. It’s one of Juffali’s favourite on-the-go bites for when she’s strolling through Jeddah. “I don’t have a go-to stall,” she said, “But would recommend picking the one that looks the busiest.”

Address: Al Kurnaysh Br Rd, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 50 7884 242
Instagram: @alnakheel_ksa

Jeddah is a scuba diver’s paradise, its waters home to a striking variety of marine life and coral reefs (Credit: Alamy Stock Photos)

5. Best outdoor experience: Underwater diving at Sol Beach

“Not many people realise, but Jeddah has a huge underwater diving scene,” said Juffali. “A lot of people come here to get their open water dive certifications.” Since the city faces a stunning expanse of water, dotted with untouched, pristine reefs, the ocean houses a delightful myriad of unique marine life, from the rare Black Marlin, and bright almost vertical coral gardens, to lionfish and even sharks.

“There’s so much to see in the water, so much beauty,” said Juffali. “I’d recommend heading to Sol Beach. It’s a good jumping-off point to explore the ocean and its array of enchanting nature.”

Website: https://www.divessi.com/de/mydiveguide/divesite/127020Address: 6998 Prince Abdullah AlFiasal St, Abhur Ash Shamaliyah District, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Instagram: @ssi_international

Juffali is fan of Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, which sells designer clothing, lifestyle goods and housewares by Saudi and Middle Eastern designers (Credit: Homegrown Market)

6. Best place to go shopping: Homegrown Market

While Juffali herself isn’t a huge fan of shopping, there is one spot she likes to peruse on account of the store’s affinity with Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern designers. “Everyone should visit Homegrown Market,” she said. “It’s such a cool space filled with really exciting items. It really champions our heritage and culture.”

What started as a fairly small venture – launching with just 12 brands – has mushroomed into a creative community and now promotes and sells wares from over 150 designers. From intriguing clothing and bold accessories to hand-painted ceramics and stunning hand-crafted jewellery, a visit to Homegrown guarantees travellers can return home with a sacred memento to remind them of their time spent in Jeddah.

Website: https://www.homegrownmkt.com/Address: Homegrown Market, 3707 Prince Said Al Faisal, Al-Suhaifah, Jeddah 23432, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 54 199 2635
Instagram: @homegrown_market

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Are women’s leadership programmes effective?

Talent accelerators are touted as a way to boost women to leadership positions. They help – but require larger change for their effects to stick.
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Since 2006, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has tracked gender parity in worldwide economic opportunities, education, health and representation in political leadership. The gender gap is nearly closed for health outcomes and education, says Silja Baller, head of mission, diversity, equity and inclusion at the WEF.

But large gaps remain for economic participation and political representation. “There seems to be a gap between the educational outcomes and how women are faring in the labour market subsequently, ” she says. Women have largely achieved the same education levels that men have, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting their access to jobs. 

There are myriad reasons for the gender gap in leadership – among them, lack of affordable childcare, the so-called “motherhood penalty” and outright discrimination. Women are also gender stereotyped. While women’s performance ratings often exceed men’s, they’re more likely to receive lower ratings for potential. Women tend to doubt their own capabilities, too. According to a 2024 report by executive search firm Russell Reynolds, women who want to climb the ladder are nearly twice as likely as men to believe they’re not qualified for their manager’s job.

These kinds of elements produce overrepresentation at low company ranks, and underrepresentation at the top. “On average, we have about 46% women in entry-level positions, but that drops to 25% at the C-suite level,” says Baller. 

The composition of the corporate workforce showed signs of turnaround for nearly a decade, but that success was short-lived. “The hiring rates of women into leadership was increasing steadily for eight years until 2022,” says Baller. “However, in 2022 we actually see a downturn in this hiring into leadership positions.” The reason for that downturn remains unclear, she says. It’s something her team is still studying.

Leadership accelerators help women learn both hard and soft skills that help them overcome barriers to leadership (Credit: Getty Images)

Where women are absent in leadership positions, some companies, including Lloyd’s of London and Baker Hughes, are instituting programmes that focus on developing women’s careers. The World Economic Forum found in 2023 that 79% of private-sector companies have implemented diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programmes that focus on women. Others, like LeanIn.org, which advocates for and trains women to advance their careers, have created independent programmes available to anyone who wants to access the curriculum. 

Yet the leadership gap stubbornly persists. In 2023, LinkedIn researchers estimated women held less than one-third of leadership positions worldwide. Talent accelerators may be able to promote some women into leadership roles, but the root causes of the gender leadership gap remain beyond their reach.

Stepping over the ‘broken rung’ 

Initiatives for developing female leaders go by many names – sometimes called ‘talent accelerators’ or ‘leadership development programmes’ – but the goal is the same: to promote women into leadership positions and keep them there.

If these programmes succeed, benefits are plentiful. First, there is evidence to suggest that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams are more profitable, and employee turnover can cost a company millions every year. The knock-on effect of good PR also can’t be ignored.

More like this:

  • How the C-suite got so bloated
  • Why mass layoffs gut middle management
  • How DEI became a lightning rod for controversy 

Most participants are high-performers on the cusp of individual contributor and manager, a stage when women’s careers are stalled or derailed by a penalty known as the “broken rung” on the career ladder. Though men and women are roughly equally represented in entry-level roles, for every 100 men promoted to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted, according to the 2023 Women in the Workplace Report by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org. It’s a gap that widens at the highest levels of business.

Development programmes focus on building soft skills, like public speaking, confident communication, negotiation and asking for a promotion. Plenty of organisations teach new technical skills to their workers, says Rachel Thomas, cofounder and CEO of LeanIn.org. Curricula for accelerators are intended to develop the skills women need to supplement those technical skills and become effective leaders. Talent accelerators also often facilitate networking, especially with senior leaders, intended to correct unequal access to mentoring and sponsorship that help workers climb the ladder

Like all accelerators, LeanIn’s own training curriculum considers gender paradigms in the workplace. “It was developed not only for what you need to do to be an effective negotiator or a transformational leader, but also, ‘what are some of the unique considerations if you’re doing that as a woman or a woman with a traditionally marginalised identity? If you’re a new mother, what are some strategies? What do you need to know about the pushback you might get?'”.

Despite accelerators, women can stall out without larger change in the workplace (Credit: Getty Images)

Thomas is aware of how this sounds: as if women are to blame for their failure to advance. “We need the workplace to change fundamentally, to be more supportive of women, and particularly women with traditionally marginalised identities. Hard stop,” she says. “In the meantime, as irritating as it is, I would like women to have the insights and the practical tips they need to navigate a workplace that’s still biased against them.” 

Gizelle George-Joseph, chief operating officer of global investment research at Goldman Sachs, went through her company’s accelerator, the Women’s Career Strategies Initiative, 14 years ago. She honed her communications skills and received direct reviews of her presentation style. What she remembers most is meeting executives. “The COO and president were presenting early one morning, and I remember asking a question and thinking, ‘wow, I am this close to the executive office, and I get to ask questions to the COO and president’.”

Many companies in heavily male-dominated industries, like energy and finance, are putting time and energy into their programmes. The success of these initiatives is often gauged by promotion rates. At global energy company Baker Hughes, the firm introduced its women’s talent accelerator, Cultivate, in 2017. Baker Hughes says 40% of participants in their oil and energy sectors from the 2021 and 2022 cohorts have been up at least one level.

The more they can be embedded in larger structural change, the more resilient the positive impact is going to be – Silija Baller

Insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London launched its programme, Advance, in 2020 following a scathing 2019 Bloomberg article that exposed a culture of sexual harassment in the company. Advance participants get access to senior leaders in the company, training on networking and insight about their own leadership styles. Lloyd’s head of culture Mark Lomas told the BBC all participants from the 2021 cohort have landed a “role improvement”, such as taking on a project above their normal scope of responsibility or receiving a promotion, within two years of completion.

The ‘fragile’ reality

Training alone doesn’t promote and keep women in leadership, however. “Those programmes are most effective and impactful if they’re embedded in larger systemic changes in the organisation,” says WEF’s Baller.

According to the WEF and McKinsey & Company, equity programmes are most successful when there is a clear definition of success and rigorous tracking; leadership is involved and accountable; the firm understands the root cause of gaps; and curriculum is designed for success within the specific company running the programme.

Yet for women in leadership, progress is precarious. Since the pandemic, “women’s economic participation has regressed rather than recovered“, according to a June 2023 WEF report. “We learned during the [Covid-19] crisis that any progress that has been achieved can be quite easily reversible if the external conditions change,” says Baller. “We had achieved quite a bit of progress, but it turned out that it was quite fragile.”

Talent accelerators may produce female leaders and role models, but they have little apparent effect on long-time cultural penalties and the bad habits formed in the workplace. “The more they can be embedded in larger structural change,” says Baller, “the more resilient the positive impact is going to be.”