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'Succession' echoing reality: Gender bias in business families

                                                                                                                                                                                 Photograph by David Russell/HBO

She may have had the last laugh in HBO’s award-winning show Succession, but character Shiv Roy was constantly sidelined and disparaged throughout the series, despite being the most capable heir in the room.

In an interview with Canadian Family Offices, FELI Director Peter Jaskiewicz and Executive Manager Katrina Barclay were asked whether Shiv’s situation mirrors real life in business families and about the role of women in succession planning and leadership roles.

Jaskiewicz and Barclay note that gender bias is still common in some family businesses. “A study we published found that in multi-generational family businesses, sons were brought up to be entrepreneurial, but daughters received minimal or no financial or emotional support to learn from the older generation and eventually start their own ventures.”   

Of the 24 business families interviewed in the study, 78% of sons pursued a career in entrepreneurship, but only 7% of daughters received an entrepreneurial education and became entrepreneurs.

“This has long-lasting consequences,” Jaskiewicz and Barclay told Canadian Family Offices. “These businesses are essentially cutting off 50% of the next generation and causing considerable resentment among their children.”

Jaskiewicz and Barclay believe that more work needs to be done to eliminate this bias. “At the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute (FELI) we want to place emphasis on research and education that supports and empowers the next generation of female business owners and leaders.”

Learn more about the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute and its work.

About the Author

À titre de directrice générale au sein de l'Institut de l'héritage des entreprises familiales (FELI) de l'École de gestion Telfer (Université d'Ottawa), Katrina travaille en étroite collaboration avec le directeur et les collaborateurs de FELI afin de promouvoir les buts et objectifs de l'Institut.<br/> <br/> As Executive Manager of the Family Enterprise Legacy Institute (FELI) at the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa) Katrina works closely with FELI's Director and contributors to further the aims and goals of the Institute.

Profile Photo of Katrina Barclay