Time for a reality check about “Closing the Leadership Gender Gap”—something every CEO should strive for in their organization, but few actually get right (or get it done!). And while you’ve probably been talking about becoming a more inclusive and diverse company for a while now, have you ever really asked yourself why you’re no closer to closing that gap than you were ten years ago?
This season of Covid has certainly shed a new light on the inequities in the workforce and communities. From the new pressures on working women with children at home full-time, to the data that’s emerging on how Covid is impacting the underserved, to horrific demonstrations of racism. Many have said that Covid has become the tinder for the flames that are needed to burn down the vast array of inequities that exist.
From a gender perspective we have seen lots of “new” goals and promises make headlines, with more and more organizations willing to state their commitment to a 50/50 gender balanced workforce by 2030. Yes, in response to the coronavirus, but also in response to data like this from McKinsey’s latest “Diversity Wins” which states: “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 25 percent more likely to experience above-peer average profitability.”
Today is International Women’s Day. I’ve been thinking about today and Women’s History Month for weeks in order to write this post. What words of wisdom would I be able to share with our colleagues, our clients and our followers?
Recently, I was asked to present information on “How to Make a Business Case for Gender Diversity” at the 100% Talent Wage Gap Summit in Seattle. Citing research on how increasing the percentage of women in leadership delivers significantly better business results from well-known organization’s like Credit Suisse, McKinsey & Co., Peterson Institute for International Economics, EY, Catalyst, and the Centre for Talent Innovation, I had all the data back-up I needed to make the case for investing in diversity initiatives.
This story has caused quite a bit of commotion in social media and we’ve seen a lot of questions popping up in LinkedIn: “How are they planning on preparing the women for leadership?” “What will they do differently?” “How will they identify what needs to be done (so I can emulate it)?
In an interview on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland® that will be airing this coming weekend, Leading Women’s CEO Susan Colantuono was asked the question: “If you had one piece of advice to give to a CEO, what would it be?
She answered, “As a CEO, or as an executive or director for that matter, if women aren’t proportionately represented throughout your organization, you aren’t facing a women’s issue — you’re facing a talent development issue with business implications. And so it’s important to bring your personal commitment and the same level of organizational accountability to that challenge as you would to any business issue.”
Since the 1970s, many companies have understood and taken action on the business case for gender initiatives, made progress and reaped benefits. Others are still questioning whether this topic warrants their attention. In a recent interview for an upcoming TV biz news interview I was asked about this:
We use this blog to track the research into the correlation between the % of women in senior management and on boards and measurable business performance. It is updated as research comes in. You'll find related information on correlation v. causation here.