Women won't gain leadership parity until 2073 — unless execs step in now
- Women still make up only 18% of senior leadership positions, according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value study, Women, Leadership, and the Priority Paradox. The study concluded that gender leadership gaps persist because advancing women is not a business priority, and at the current pace of change, women won't reach leadership parity with men until 2073.
- The study attributed the leadership gap to three factors: 1) businesses aren't sold on the value of advancing women, even as reports show that gender equality improves companies' financial status; 2) men underestimate the impact of gender inequality, assuming that they would have made it into the upper ranks of leadership had they been women; and 3) companies have a do-good but laissez-faire attitude toward diversity.
- The study recommended that organizations make leadership gender equality a business priority, create a culture of inclusion and make senior executives accountable for gender equality results.
Women took more than one-fifth of vacated CEO slots in 2018, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That number had hovered around 18% in the previous two years, so while more women than ever before are moving into CEO slots, the change is somewhat small. The situation is even worse for African-American women, who aren't being elevated into the C-suite, where the path to the CEO's office begins.
Decision-makers' attitudes toward diversity and inclusion go a long way in determining how under-represented groups — women, people of color and LGBTQ people, in particular — advance in an organization. A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report said that although 98% of workplaces in the report have a diversity program, 25% of their employees aren't reaping the rewards. Although the BCG report applied to employees at all levels, it points to the need for D&I to be seriously considered by leadership as part of a business objective. HR might ask for a commitment from managers and supervisors because D&I efforts at that level may help move underrepresented groups move up into the C-suite.