Here's Why We're Still Talking About Women's Leadership

We know that… Yet…
Women make up 50% of the global working-age population and provide 75% of unpaid care work worldwide[i] Women generate only 37% of global GDP.[ii]
·      The cost of turnover for knowledge workers ranges from 200 to 500% of salary.[iii]

·      Compared with men at the same level, SVP-level women are 20% less likely to leave, and women in the C-suite are about half as likely to leave.[iv]

Women only make up 23% of SVP leaders and 17% of C-suite executives.[v]
·      Companies with the highest number of women on the board of directors outperform those with the lowest by 16% on return on sales and by 26% on return on invested capital.[vi]

·      Companies with women directors had a lower risk of insolvency than other companies. [vii]

·      A higher percentage of women directors is correlated with higher Corporate Social Performance ratings.[viii]


As of 2013, women only held 17% of board seats in the U.S.[ix]


Studies have shown that:

o   Gender balanced teams create better conditions for innovation.[x]

o   More gender diversity increases the probability that priority deliverables are achieved before schedule.[xi]

o   The collective intelligence of a group significantly correlates to the proportion of females in the group.[xii]


Less than half of workers believe that gender diversity is a top priority for their CEO, and only a third view it as a top priority for their direct manager. (note: women are less likely than men to see gender diversity as a priority for their manager and CEO)[xiii]


Companies with women CEOs have experienced better financial performance, outperforming both the market and their industries by up to 28%.[xiv] Only 5% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.[xv]


Women outperformed men on the majority of leadership competencies in several studies, including “tenacity,” “practices self- development,” and “displays high integrity and honesty.”[xvi] Female leaders are held to more rigorous standards and are more likely to be fired than their male counterparts.[xvii]
Women still make just 78 cents for every dollar men make.[xviii] Only 63% of men say the country needs to continue to make changes to give men and women equality in the workplace.[xix]


[i] McKinsey Global Institute, “The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth,” September 2015

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Deloitte, “The gender dividend: Making the business case for investing in women,” 2013.

[iv] LeanIn and McKinsey & Company, “Women in the Workplace 2015”

[v] Ibid

[vi] Catalyst, “The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance And Women’s Representation On Boards (2004–2008)”, 2011

[vii] Nick Wilson and Ali Altanlar, “Director Characteristics, Gender Balance and Insolvency Risk: An Empirical Study,” Social Science Research Network (2009).

[viii]Soares, Rachel, Heather Foust-Cummings, Claude Francoeur, and Réal Labelle.

Companies Behaving Responsibly: Gender Diversity on Boards. New York: Catalyst, 2015

[ix] Rachel Soares, Mark J. Bartkiewicz, Liz Mulligan-Ferry, Emily Fendler, and Elijah Wai Chun Kun, 2013 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors (Catalyst, 2013)

[x] The Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business, “Innovative Potential: Men and Women in Teams,” 2007

[xi] Turner, L. (2009) ‘Gender diversity and innovative performance’, Int. J. Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4, Nos. 2/3, pp.123–134.

[xii] Anita Williams Woolley, et al, “Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups,” Science, 29 October 2010.

[xiii] LeanIn and McKinsey & Company, “Women in the Workplace 2015”

[xiv] Catalyst, “Why Diversity Matters,” July 2013

[xv] Pew Research Center, “Women and Leadership,” 2015

[xvi] Catalyst, “Why Diversity Matters,” July 2013

[xvii] Barling, Julian (2014), The Science of Leadership, Lessons from Research for Organizational Leaders (208) New York, Oxford University Press


[xviii] White House Council Of Economic Advisers Issue Brief, “Gender Pay Gap: Recent Trends And Explanations,” April 2015

[xix] Pew Research Center, “Women and Leadership,” 2015


Rachel Zurer

Rachel is Conscious Company’s editor-in-chief, in charge of wrangling all the words. Before joining the CCM team, she worked at Backpacker and Wired magazines.


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