Women Leaders Make Slow Progress

Despite the performance benefits of having more women leaders at the top of the org chart, slow progress has been made since 1960. This infographic reviews the ups and downs for women in business.

Women Leaders Infographic, IMPACT Group

Women Leaders Q&A

 Although women make up nearly half of the workforce, they are still underrepresented in leadership roles. Take a look at a few fast facts about women leaders.

Who was the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company?

Katherine Graham, CEO of The Post, became the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

What rules and legislation have been put in place to bring gender equality to the workforce?

In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed but did little to bridge the pay gap. In 2021 the SEC approved Nasdaq’s rule of requiring greater diversity on public company boards.

How much can gender balance boost performance?

Company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top of the org chart.

How many women leaders are active in CEO positions?

While women comprise 46% of the American workforce, only 6.6% of CEO positions are filled by women.

Stalls, Setbacks & Slow Progress for Women Leaders

Studies have shown women leaders to be essential components of a successful workplace, yet they are still overwhelmingly missing from leadership positions. Promoting diversity in leadership is not just the right thing to do, it’s the right business strategy. Company profits and share performance can be close to 50% higher when women are well represented at the top of the org chart, according to McKinsey research. And these stats are even more revealing:

  • Companies with more women on their board improve cohesiveness and decision-making, increase corporate social responsibility, and respond better to change.
  • Gender-balanced boardrooms are almost 20% more likely to improve business outcomes and have a greater ability to gauge consumer interest and demand.
  • Companies that add just one more woman to their board (while keeping the board size unchanged) achieve an ROI of 8 to 13 basis points.

Despite the evidence that women leaders are key drivers of company success, organizations are still working toward gender equality.

Why are women leaders still underrepresented in the top tiers of organizations?

Is it because they lack the degrees and skills to fill those roles? Data proves this isn’t the case. A Zenger Folkman study shares that women commonly demonstrate key leadership traits more than men in 360° assessments.

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