A Report on Gender Diversity

Two businesspeople in hard hats holding blueprints

Last fall, McKinsey & Company released a report providing a look-back at 10 years of increasing gender diversity in the workplace and its contribution to the global economy.

Women Matter: Ten Years of Insights on Gender Diversity highlights the company’s research on how to build gender parity in corporations, including chapters on “creating gender-neutral organizations” and “engaging men.” Over the report’s 10 years, there has been some momentum in parts of the world – Europe, North America, and sectors of Asia and Latin America, yet women are still underrepresented in top management and in positions that could have great influence on our economy.

Here is a short video laying out “8 facts on gender parity” – https://www.mckinsey.com/Videos/video?vid=5345585236001&plyrid=HkOJqCPWdb&aid=C5682E10-200B-491E-89B7-719982C45256

A key point in the McKinsey report is the finding that women are as ambitious as men in the corporate world, but are much less confident that they can succeed. Factors at play include a supportive work environment – twice as important as individual mindset in building women’s confidence about becoming senior management. In the United States specifically, women see the pros and cons of top management much differently than men. In addition to balancing work and family – which is also a concern of men – company politics and the pressures of leadership are most often reported by women surveyed.

Filled with statistics and rationale, the report concludes with 10 attributes in companies striving to reach gender parity and inclusion.  They are:

  • Unorthodox. Policies, rules, norms, and practices are constantly challenged to take into account the needs of all, not just one dominant group.
  • Polymorphic. Diverse leadership styles are used, recognizing that effectiveness comes in many forms.
  • Empowered. Instead of “command and control,” everyone is empowered and has the ability to shape the future.
  • Multifaceted. The organization mirrors the society we live in: multi-cultural and reflecting a broad range of religions, cultures, and ethnicities.
  • Meritocratic and fair. Processes are fair and everyone is treated equally, in settings free of bias.
  • Caring and safe. The environment is no-fear, nonhierarchical, and nonviolent.
  • Respectful. Women are considered peers; everyone has the same share of voice and can be heard by all.
  • Balanced. The organization enables work-life balance, which means no more long hours and an understanding that performance is not linked to physical presence and time commitment.
  • Global and agile. There is full connectivity, at a global scale, and flexibility by leveraging technology.
  • Inventive. A forward-thinking CEO is surrounded by bold and creative individuals.

Change is slow to happen, but the case for gender parity in the workplace has never been stronger. The study notes that persistence, top management commitment, and a culture that activates and mirrors gender diversity at all levels can produce change.

This report delivers a strong business case for gender diversity, which is a concept Chrysalis has shared throughout its 29 years.  As we look to the future, gender diversity, along with inclusiveness on all counts, is a key part of helping girls prepare for a future of economic empowerment.

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