Study: Where the Worlds Top Companies Stand: 20-First’s Global Gender Balance Scorecard 2011 (Wittenberg-Cox, 20-First 2011)
Finding: Executive committees are a much better indicator of true gender balance in corporate culture than board reports, and women’s representation on them tends to lag board participation.
Note about The Woman Effect Research Index: This study was performed by researchers not affiliated with InPower Women. Our Research Index includes all relevant research to the subject of women, business and power. We do not influence how the research was conducted or reported by the researchers. In our abstracts, we focus on pulling out the most actionable advice for individual women. To suggest additional research we should index, or discuss our choice of abstract focus, please contact us
InPower Insight: Increase the diversity of your executive committees to realize the true benefits of gender balance.
Listen up women in leadership! If you’ve been keeping tabs on gender balance in the workplace, then you’ve seen report after report on the balance of boards, but you may be wondering how this fits into your own leadership journey to the top of your company. This study by 20-First focuses on executive committees rather than board statistics, believing that people running the company are a “much better indicator of corporate progress in managing and developing talent in a truly meritocratic and gender “bilingual” way.” Executive committees play a larger role in the direction and status of the business.
In their third annual survey, the 20- first Global Gender Balance Scorecard measures gender balance of Executive Committees and Board of Directors of the Top 100 companies in America, Europe, and Asia. The study shows that the US leads with 74% of companies having at least two women on their board. In Europe, 68% of companies contain at least two women.
However, women’s representation on executive committees is even lower than board representation. Only 59% of US companies have at least two women on their executive teams, 20% in Europe, and an astonishingly low 4% in Asia. These numbers, when further broken down, produce even more shocking results. Among the top 100 US companies, only 17% of Executive Committee members are women. In Europe’s top 100, 8% are women and in Asia, 1.5%.
20-first ranked the companies according to six phases: asleep, token, starting smart, progressing, critical mass, balanced. At one end of the spectrum, asleep, companies showed little to no initiative in achieving gender balance. At the other end of the spectrum, balanced, there is gender equality and diversity at the top.
Career Coaching Tip: The good news for smart, savvy and strong women seeking leadership positions is that there is a lot of opportunity at the top. Many top execs say they’re looking for good women to fill these slots, and clearly there are plenty to fill. If your aspiration is to sit on a powerful board someday, then make yourself most attractive by making it into your company’s executive ranks where you’ll be noticed for your leadership capability.
Keywords: Asleep, Balanced, Executive committee, Gender journey, Line, Progressing, Staff, Tokenism, women executives
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