100 Years to Gender Parity

genderI often tell my audiences that it will take a generation before we see true gender equality in the C-suite.  A recent report by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org has confirmed this statement. Based on the change observed at each level between the 2012 and 2015 studies, there was a 0.9% increase in female representation in the C-suite over 3 years.  With this slow rate of progress, it will take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level, and more than 100 years to reach parity in the C-suite.

This is astonishing!  It’s 2015…we are long past women’s suffrage and liberation movements, we are more enlightened and diverse than ever, women make-up the majority of all professional occupations and managerial roles, and account for 60% of Bachelor degrees at U.S. universities.  In fact, not only has the leadership needle barely budged in the last 3 decades, women are significantly underrepresented at every corporate level (entry-level, manager, director, vice president, senior vice president, and the C-suite).

How could this be happening?  Well, the answer is not a simple one.  Women face significant barriers in the workplace that men do not have to face.  The data shows that women are less likely and slower to advance than men at all levels.  What I find most telling, is that women see and experience a workplace that favors men, but men don’t see it that way.  Women are 3 times more likely than men to say they have personally missed out on an assignment, promotion, or raise because of their gender.  Women also report that they are consulted less often on important decisions. 43% of women feel that they have fewer opportunities than men, compared to only 12% of men who feel that way.

There also appears to be a disconnect between CEOs and employees on the priority of gender diversity.  74% of companies report that gender diversity is a top CEO priority, but less than half of workers actually believe it.  This is a big problem.  Organizations need to actually demonstrate that gender diversity is a top priority, and commit to a comprehensive and sustained investment in programs and processes that change company practices and culture.

100 years is too long to wait for any career-minded individual.  Female leadership is an imperative for organizations that want to perform at the highest levels.  We need to rethink work, rethink leadership, and rethink gender.

Contact me today to discuss how I can help you improve gender-based leadership outcomes at both the individual and organizational levels at www.drshawnandrews.com.