Advancing gender equity is a clear win. But doubling down on pre-Covid approaches won’t get organizations where they need to be.
Our findings suggest they have, but not for the better. Despite increased awareness of gender imbalances, the number of women serving in senior leadership positions has barely budged over the past 2 years. Only 1 in 4 organizations are making the advancement of women a top 10 priority. And, perhaps most concerning, there are now fewer women in the pipeline to fill executive roles than there were in 2019.
While many factors may be inhibiting progress, companies can make bolder breakthroughs if they commit to taking action now. Organizations need to treat gender equity and diversity as though their survival depends on it. Not only is leveling the playing field the right thing to do, it is undeniably good for business.
Gender-inclusive organizations that prioritize the advancement of women reap a variety of benefits.
- They report a rate of revenue growth as much as 61 percent higher than other organizations.
- 60 percent report they are more innovative than their competitors.
- 70 percent say they lead their field in customer satisfacion.
Stacked biases penalize women of color
- 38% How much less Black women are paid than white men, on average
- 23 How many months it takes Hispanic women to earn what white men earn in a year
- 1 How many Black women are Fortune 500 CEOs
2019 vs. 2021: The pipeline of women for leadership roles has gotten smaller
women are in senior vice president, vice president, director, and manager roles
in the number of women on boards and the C-suite
Yet, the events of 2020 showed that organizations can move boldly when they want to. When the global economy went into a tailspin following coronavirus lockdowns, diversity and inclusion initiatives were among the first casualties. But the Black Lives Matter protests propelled diversity and equity to center stage, spurring new, bold commitments and optimism. Adidas, for example, plans to fill at least 30% of open positions with Black or Hispanic candidates. PepsiCo has announced it will add more than 250 Black employees to managerial positions, including a minimum of 100 Black employees to executive positions. And Estée Lauder commits to increasing the percentage of Black employees at all levels of its company, including the management layers, over the next 5 years, mirroring the percentage of Black people in the US.
These examples show that organizations can make big commitments in short order. To boost gender equity, and their own performance, businesses need to demonstrate the same energy and dedication. But success will require a different playbook.(/)
Featured image of woman via IBM.