Through a comparison of the life and career trajectories of thirty male and thirty female CEOs of large organizations this study offers insights into the genesis of gender disparity in corporate leadership positions discusses the implications for leadership development and puts forward a model explaining the disparity in CEO roles. We found gendered patterns in the accumulation of career relevant experiences stretching back to birth into working lives that created significant and cumulative limitations upon the ability of women to access CEO roles and the types of CEO appointments available to them. Limited access to career relevant experiences in childhood adolescence and in organizations lead to on-going limitations in capital accumulation throughout women's careers. Implications of our findings for both theory and practice are discussed.
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