International Women's Day, which is celebrated every March, is a chance for the business world to sit back and review the successes and experiences that women experience in the international business community. It was set aside as a time to review the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide and reflect on the experiences that lay ahead.
These future trials are formidable if the data presented during the 2016 Women's Day is accurate.
- Almost four in ten businesses have no women in senior management positions in G7 countries
- The proportion of senior business roles held by women globally stands at only 24%
- There is an increase in the percentage of firms that have no places for women in senior management
In G7 countries only 22% of companies have women as part of their senior staff
- 39% of companies have no women in senior roles whatsoever in G7 countries
- In Japan, with its powerhouse economy, only 7 percent of companies have women in senior roles
- Germany, another country with a strong economy, has only a 15% rate of countries with women in senior roles
All this is happening despite public commitments to equal opportunity among world leaders and the UN. Although study after study illustrates commercial benefits of a diverse leadership on a company's performance, the majority of businesses around the world are run almost exclusively by men.
Grant Thomas is the author of Women in Business: Turning Promise into Practice. His report surveyed 5,520 businesses in 36 economies in an effort to determine how women fare in the global business community.
His report points out that the business case for gender diversity among business leadership teams is established. It improves the bottom line by opening: new opportunities for growth and reducing the risk of ‘group-think.' Yet despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits of gender diversity in leadership, a third of companies around the world no women helping grow the business at a leadership level and have no female input into executive decisions. Research shows that listed companies in only the US, India and the UK with male-only boards are foregoing potential profits of $655.
Across the Board
The numbers are consistent for all industries, from technology to construction to providers of online casino games. The numbers are the highest in Eastern Europe which boasts the highest proportions of women in leadership (35%) and just 16% firms with no women in senior management positions. The highest number of firms that have women in senior roles is in Russia, followed by the Philippines.
Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thomas, the company that produced this research, says “We know that businesses with diverse work-forces can outperform their more homogeneous peers and are better positioned to adapt to a rapidly changing global business environment. Within the context of increased uncertainty and complexity, firms must resist group-think and welcome a range of perspectives in order to grow and meet the challenges of today."
How Women Can Get Ahead
Accenture, a global professional services company that provides a range of consulting, strategy, digital, operations & technology services and solutions, offers some thoughts about how women can get ahead.
The Accenture report concludes that when businesses and governments introduce programs and projects that increase the pace at which women become digitally fluent, the pace of gender equality will increase
By doubling the rate for digital fluency, Accenture estimates, the workplace could reach gender equality in 25 years in developed nations. This contrasts to a 50 year forecast for gender equality at the current pace of movement. The report goes on to say that workplace could reach gender equality in 40 years in developing countries versus 65 years at the current rate of movement.
Both the changing tools of empowerment and the definition of new leadership are essential for progress, change, and women's empowerment.