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Workplace Gender Parity 100 Years Away - Report


7 October 2015 at 11:32 am
Ellie Cooper
Women are underrepresented at all levels within corporations and, at the current rate of progress, it will take more than 100 years for the executive level to achieve gender parity, a study from the United States revealed.

Ellie Cooper | 7 October 2015 at 11:32 am


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Workplace Gender Parity 100 Years Away - Report
7 October 2015 at 11:32 am

Women are underrepresented at all levels within corporations and, at the current rate of progress, it will take more than 100 years for the executive level to achieve gender parity, a study from the United States revealed.

The joint LeanIn.Org and McKinsey study, called Women in the Workplace, surveyed 118 companies and almost 30,000 employees.

It found that women were less likely to advance in the workplace than men and faced a steeper path to leadership.

“If women were advancing at similar rates to men, companies would see the same share of women from one level to the next,” the report said.

“However, that is not the case. Across levels, the expected representation of women is 15 per cent lower than that of men. This suggests that women face greater barriers to advancement.”

LeanIn.Org and McKinsey compared survey results to their similar study from 2012, which shows advancements in gender equality are slow.

“Based on the slow rate of progress over the last three years, it will take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level and more than one hundred years in the C-suite [executive level],” the report said.

The report found there was “compelling evidence” that women are disadvantaged by company practices and culture.

“Women see a workplace skewed in favour of men. They are almost four times more likely than men to think they have fewer opportunities to advance because of their gender—and are twice as likely to think their gender will make it harder for them to advance in the future,” the report said.

“Women not only observe a workplace biased against them; they believe they are disadvantaged by it. They are almost three times more likely than men to say they have personally missed out on an assignment, promotion, or raise because of their gender.

“Compared with men, women also report that they are consulted less often on important decisions. These dynamics help explain why women appear to advance at lower rates than their male peers.”  

This experience is compounded for women moving up the corporate ladder, who view their gender as a bigger disadvantage than entry-level women do.

“This uneven playing field appears to take a toll on women in leadership. Senior-level women are markedly less satisfied with their role, opportunities for advancement, and career than their male counterparts,” the report said.

Networking was also identified as a barrier to career advancement, with women and men having access to different professional networks.

“Women and men agree that sponsorship is vital to success and advancement, with two-thirds describing it as “very” or “extremely” important,” the report said.

“Men predominantly have male networks, while women have mostly female or mixed networks. Given that men are more likely to hold leadership positions, women may end up with less access to senior-level sponsorship.

“Nearly two-thirds of men say that the senior leaders who have helped them advance were mostly men, compared to just over a third of women.”  

The report recommended corporations focus on five key areas to improve gender equality; demonstrate that gender diversity is a priority, identify and stop gender bias, implement flexible work arrangements, create systems for managers to support women and encourage senior-level women to prevent disillusion.


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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