A new report suggests that companies have made progress in supporting and empowering female leaders; but it also shows that significant gender gaps remain.
There are 24% more women at the C-suite level of companies than there were four years ago, according to Women in the Workplace 2019. However, before you boast, “Mission accomplished,” consider that the report also shows that there is 5% less representation of women at the manager level and that women still feel that gender is a barrier to advancement.
Among other findings from the report:
- Nearly half of companies have three or more women in their C-suite.
- While 13% more companies indicate they are committed to gender diversity, there are 5% fewer women of color in management and C-suite positions.
- 8% more companies suggest they make an effort to sponsor women to move up the ranks.
- 30% more women have the flexibility to work from home.
- 8% more women are part of a dual-career couple.
More women are becoming senior-level leaders, the report indicates, and this is the result of two trends. For one, more women are being hired at the director level and higher up the ladder than in previous years. Second, senior-level women are being promoted at higher rates than their male counterparts. At the same time, men at senior management and C-suite levels are more likely to leave their companies for greener pastures; and this creates more opportunities for women.
The report authors say, “An increasing number of companies are seeing the value of having more women in leadership, and they’re proving that they can make progress on gender diversity.” However, they add, “Women continue to be underrepresented at every level. To change the numbers, companies need to focus where the real problem is.” The greatest obstacle, they suggest, is that women still face significant barriers to take their first step up to management. Fixing this “broken rung” is the key to achieving parity.
Some steps to promote gender diversity, the authors say, include creating and maintaining a culture of equality and inclusion. Be sure to implement and communicate policies that create a level playing field and promote fairness. Survey employees and seek feedback from thought leaders at all levels about their views on equal opportunities and how they see the company measuring up.