Challenges

Center for Gender Equity & Leadership

Challenges

More women than men are graduating from college and university. Yet despite significant progress in reducing gender gaps in education, large gender gaps in business persist. In S&P 500 companies, only 5.6% of CEOs are women, of which none are women of color as of March 2017. Women account for only 20% of board seats and 20% of C-suite positions in these companies. Women are underrepresented at every level in the corporate pipeline. Although the “great shrink” or the declining share of women in the pipeline from mid-level to top leadership positions has improved slowly it now seems to have plateaued. On average, women are paid less than men in the same occupation, sector, and/or position. Pay inequity, lack of maternity and family leave, unconscious biases, and a significant lack of women in senior leadership positions still exist. Women face systemic, structural, cultural, and individual barriers to opportunities and advancement. More than 75% of CEOs include gender equality in their top ten business priorities yet gender outcomes are not changing. Many companies and business leaders are committed to gender diversity and an inclusive work environment but do not know how to create solutions.