Corporate America Not On A Path To Gender Equality

No surprises for me in a recently released report from McKinsey and Lean In on gender parity in corporate America.  According to the report, women are underrepresented at every level of the corporate hierarchy.

Disparity is greatest in senior leadership; it will take 25 years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level and more than 100 years at the C-suite.

The prevailing myth has been that women leave organizations at higher rates than men.  But this study debunks this myth.  “Women, on average, are leaving their organizations at the same or lower rates than men.”

So what gives?

If women were advancing at similar rates to men, companies would see the same share of women from one level to the next.  However, that is not the case.  Across levels, the expected representation of women is 15% lower than men.  This suggests that women face greater barriers to advancement.

Employee attitudes speak volumes.  And what they say is “there is compelling evidence that women are disadvantaged by company practices and culture.”

And the kicker to it all…. “and in some cases, so are men.”

So what do we do?

“Rethink work” is one of my favorite recommendations.  “Companies need to do more to give all employees the flexibility to fit work into their lives, from offering programs that do not inadvertently penalize participants to fostering a culture that gives employees permission to take advantage of these options.”