Many of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are hitting women disproportionately hard. Women are more likely than men to work in low-paying, insecure and informal jobs. Women also make up the majority of health professionals and essential workers at the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, risking their health and safety, as well as those of their families.
This year, 329 companies employing more than 13 million people shared their pipeline data or completed a survey of their HR practices. In addition, more than 68,500 employees were surveyed on their workplace experiences, and we interviewed women and men of different races and ethnicities, LGBTQ women and men, and women with disabilities at all levels in their organizations
for additional insights.
Our 2019 findings build on our data from the last four years, as well as similar research conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2012.
For the last four years, companies have reported that they are highly committed to gender diversity. But that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress.
Women continue to be vastly underrepresented at every level. For women of color, it’s even worse. Only about one in five senior leaders is a woman, and one in twenty-five is a woman of color.
Progress isn’t just slow—it’s stalled. And we know why.
In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step
The economic downturn caused by the current Covid-19 outbreak has substantial implications for gender equality, both during the downturn and the subsequent recovery. Compared to ‘regular’ recessions, which affect men’s employment more severely than women’s employment, the employment drop related to social distancing measures has a large impact on sectors with high
female employment shares. In addition, closures of schools and daycare centers have massively increased child care needs, which has a particularly large impact on working mothers. The effects of the crisis on working mothers are likely to be persistent, due to high returns to experience in the labour market. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are opposing forces which may ultimately promote gender equality in the labour market.
When 90 percent of Icelandic women refused to work, and the country fell into chaos, they had succeeded.
On Friday, October 24, 1975, telephone lines went down; families scrounged for food; theaters cancelled performances; even the following day’s newspaper was half its average length. On an island with just 220,000 inhabitants, the country simply could not go on without the help of women.
One year after the strike, Iceland formed the Gender Equality Council and passed the Gender Equality Act against discrimination in the workplace. Four years after that, Finnbogadottir was elected president. She called Women’s Day Off a watershed moment for women’s emancipation, and she stood as one of its major symbols of progress. “The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge,” she recalled.
Goldman Sachs, one of the last bastions of crisp-collared, bespoke-suited workplace attire, has loosened up. It announced an official “firm-wide flexible dress code” earlier this month. And at last — after the long, slow undoing of corporate formality — business casual seems to have triumphed in the American workplace. But for women and minorities who have been playing corporate catch-up for decades, a more casual dress code presents its own complications. Women at work who feel pressure to prove they deserve to be in the room might be wary of ditching their blazers and pumps.
Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles, in spite of research indicating that gender- balanced leadership has a positive impact on the bottom line.
However, gender balance impacts performance only when the optimal balance is reached.
The results of the Sodexo study confirm that this balance corresponds to a male-female ratio between 40% and 60%, reinforcing that diversity is key to enhanced performance.
Entities with gender-balanced management performed better on all of the performance indicators measured, including employee engagement, brand awareness, client retention and three indicators of financial performance.
Teams at Sodexo within the optimum gender- balanced zone have experienced on average an increase of four points in the global engagement rate versus only one point for other teams between 2010 and 2012.
Using a unique sample of 5,022 workers in 94 large German workplaces, the authors explore whether and how women’s access to higher level positions, firms’ human resources practices, and workers’ qualification levels are associated with gender differences in earnings. First, they find that having more women in management reduces the gender earnings gap for jobs with low qualifications, but not those with high qualifications. Second, they find that while men’s compensation is positively affected by having a male supervisor, women with a female supervisor do not receive such an advantage. Finally, they find that human resources practices and job-level qualifications moderate the association between gendered power and gender earnings inequalities. Integrating women into managerial and supervisory roles does not automatically reduce gender inequalities; its impacts are contingent on organizational context.