by Patricia Milligan
Originally published: July 3, 2017
It’s been more than 40 years since the mass arrival of women in the corporate workforce and 20 years since organizations created their first formal diversity plans. Yet women make up only 35 percent of the average company’s workforce at the professional level and above and only 20 percent of its executives. Even worse, the average organization still isn’t on track to achieve gender equality a full decade from now, according to our When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive global research.
Women are underused in the workforces of emerging economies. This is due to both “push” factors (lack of career advancement or support on the job) and “pull” factors (pressure to care for children or elders, among others). Although the glass ceiling is cracking in some regions, there is still great work to be done.
Employers have a critical role to play in creating gender parity. The reward will not just be a thriving workforce but thriving businesses able to capitalize on the talents of all to drive innovation and growth. In fact, a significant body of research over the past two decades suggests a link between higher female representation in the workplace and various company performance measures, including better financial performance; higher return on sales, equity and invested capital; higher operating results; better stock growth and more.