The 2010 Women Matter report confirms that women are still underrepresented in boards of corporations, although improvements have been seen in this area in some countries. At the same time, gender diversity within executive committees remains very low.
And yet gender diversity in the top management of corporations remains a key topic: three years after the first Women Matter study, the link between the presence of women in executive committees and better financial performance is still valid.
The 2010 Women Matter study provides a focused analysis on how to achieve gender diversity at top management level. Its findings are partly based on a survey we conducted in September 2010 of about 1,500 business leaders worldwide across all industries, from middle managers to CEOs. The survey concretely reveals that a majority of leaders, both men and women, now recognize gender diversity as a performance driver, while also showing that actual implementation of gender-diversity measures in corporations remains limited.
This is not surprising as the achievement of gender diversity is not at the top of – nor even on – companies’ strategic agenda: only 28 percent of respondents identified this as a top-10 priority in their company. This is a concern, as the new McKinsey study shows a link between having gender diversity as a top priority and achieving women representation in C-level positions (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.). Moreover, the companies that have placed this topic high on their strategic agenda implement on average more gender-diversity measures.
The study finally identifies those measures that tend to be more effective in increasing women representation, highlighting in particular the impact of CEO commitment and women’s individual development programs.
Looking forward therefore, the findings of the 2010 Women Matter study should help clarify priorities for those companies that want to achieve gender diversity in their top management.