Worlds Biggest Employers Still Losing Out On Female Talent.

corp-gender-coverThe World Economic Forum has just published its 2010 Corporate Gender Gap Report. It surveys 600 leading companies across 16 industries in 20 countries and explores women’s participation in business and companies’ adherence to gender equality policies.

The survey also asked respondents to identify the biggest barriers to women’s leadership and their opinion on the probable effects of the economic downturn on women’s employment in their countries and industries.

Some key findings:

  • Female employees are concentrated in entry or middle level positions and remain scarce in senior management or board positions in most countries and industries.
  • The average for women holding the CEO-level position was a little less than 5% among the 600 companies surveyed. Finland (13%), Norway (12%), Turkey (12%), Italy (11%) and Brazil (11%) have the highest percentage of women CEOs in this sample.
  • Although the problems of wage gaps between women and men are universally recognized, 72% of the companies surveyed do not attempt to track salary gaps at all.
  • Almost 40% of the companies surveyed claim to be setting specified targets, quotas or other affirmative policies to improve women’s participation in their structures.
  • The biggest barriers to women’s access to leadership positions identified by the respondents are “general norms and cultural practices”, “masculine or patriarchal corporate culture” and “lack of role models”.
  • The least important barriers are identified as “lack of adequate parental leave and benefits” and “inadequate labour laws and regulations”.
  • More than 30% of respondents in France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom believe the economic downturn would be more harmful for women’s jobs in their country.

Zahidi Saadia, Co-author of the repor tand head of the Forum’s Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme concludes:

“The findings of The Corporate Gender Gap Report are an alarm bell …that the corporate world is not doing enough to achieve gender equality. While a certain set of companies in Scandinavia, the US and the UK are indeed leaders in integrating women, the idea that most corporations have become gender-balanced or women-friendly is still a myth. With this study, we are giving businesses a one-stop guide on what they need to do to close the corporate gender gap.”

Download the full report: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/corporate2010.pdf

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