The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s refreshed mission and subsequent strategic plan has been in place throughout 2016. As we move toward our goal of gender parity through gender partnership, we can look to current research to see where we are.
McKinsey’s annual Women in the Workplace report on the state of women in corporate America shows that in 2016 women still fall behind men at every career stage. Women start at a lower salary and are promoted at lower rates. The report also states that women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager—so far fewer end up on the path to leadership—and they are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. Women also get less access to the people, input and opportunities that accelerate careers. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see. And, despite modest progress since 2015, women remain underrepresented in the corporate pipeline. At every step, the representation of women declines, and this does not appear to be the result of company-level attrition.
Seuss’ Gender Report for 2016, focusing on the European Union, showed that gender parity is improving. The average female representation on corporate boards in the EU is now nearly 18%, double what it was in 2003. The change in Europe is directly attributable to quotas. Seuss reports that between 2010 and 2012, a number of European countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, began legislating the quota question. In these countries, it has effectively become illegal to fail to have a state-set minimum percentage of female representation on corporate boards.
Gallup’s Women in America Work and Life Well-Lived report shows that in 2016 we still see that outdated company cultures and policies affect women personally and professionally. Gallup reports that 60% of women rate greater work-life balance and better personal well-being as a “very important” attribute in a new job. Organizations that don’t create cultures that enable women to maximize their full potential, in and out of the workplace, will not be able to keep up with employers that offer more choice and flexibility and greater trust and transparency.
But the great news is that women who aspire to leadership positions are unlikely to be deterred by job demands in the upper levels of leadership.
We are not satisfied. We are working to- ward gender parity in leadership positions. We are partnering with organizations and companies that have parallel missions and vision. We are working to develop women so they are ready to take the most senior roles. We are convening companies to discuss the impediments and solutions to achieve our mutual goals. We are working with our Corporate Partner companies to uncover hidden bias, build gender partnership and laud those individuals and organizations that get it right.
I encourage you to be part of the transformation. Join us. Attend our events. Become a Corporate Partner. Volunteer. Together we can reach our goal.