Women, Leadership, and Missed Opportunities

Advancing gender equity is a clear win. But doubling down on pre-COVID approaches won’t get organizations where they need to be.
Mar 12, 2021 9:00 AM ET
Article

In 2019, IBM launched its first women in leadership study. Our goal was to see if the attention and resources devoted to aiding women’s professional advancement had made a demonstrable difference in closing the gender gap. Two years and a global pandemic later, we wondered: Have things changed?

Our findings suggest they have, but not for the better. Despite increased awareness of gender imbalances, the number of women serving in senior leadership positions has barely budged over the past 2 years. Only 1 in 4 organizations are making the advancement of women a top 10 priority. And, perhaps most concerning, there are now fewer women in the pipeline to fill executive roles than there were in 2019.

IBM SVP Bridget van Kralingen on the importance of gender equity in leadership

While many factors may be inhibiting progress, companies can make bolder breakthroughs if they commit to taking action now. Organizations need to treat gender equity and diversity as though their survival depends on it. Not only is leveling the playing field the right thing to do, it is undeniably good for business.

Gender-inclusive organizations that prioritize the advancement of women reap a variety of benefits.

  • They report a rate of revenue growth as much as 61% higher than other organizations.
  • 60% report they are more innovative than their competitors.
  • 73% say they lead their field in customer satisfaction.

Learn more and download the report here