- Women executives at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. may reach parity with men in senior leadership positions sometime between 2030 and 2037, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
- The proportion of women holding all board and C-suite positions in companies in the Russell 3000 Index rose to 21.9% in 2021 from 9.5% in 2010, S&P found in an analysis of 7,300 companies and 86,000 executives over a span of 12 years.
- “C-suite parity remains elusive,” S&P said. “Most of the progress toward gender parity comes from the increasing number of women taking seats on company boards.”
S&P says that women in the workplace currently confront a “bleak landscape” of inequality. Still, it offers a more optimistic forecast for gender parity than other recent research, which it says “paints a picture of slow, incremental improvements.”
At the current rate of progress, women in more than 100 countries are unlikely to gain an equal footing with men for 131 years, according to the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum.
Achieving gender equality in politics and in economic participation and opportunity will take more than 160 years, according to forum estimates.
“The state of gender parity in the labor market remains a major challenge,” the forum said. “Not only has women’s participation in the labor market globally slipped in recent years, but other markers of economic opportunity have been showing substantive disparities between women and men.”
Among 163 countries, women make up 42% of the workforce in 2023 yet hold just 32% of senior leadership positions such as director, vice president or roles in the C-suite, the forum said, citing LinkedIn data. Women fill just 25% of C-suite posts.
The pandemic set back women’s careers more than men’s. The proportion of women in leadership positions grew during the period by just 1.7% compared with S&P’s expected 2.5% growth, S&P said.
“Recent years have seen major setbacks and the state of gender parity still varies widely by company, industry and economy,” the forum said.
The gender gap is especially wide in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the forum said. Women fill just 29% of STEM jobs, and just 18% and 12% of vice president and C-suite positions, respectively.
Companies determined to eradicate sexism have expanded their efforts in recent years, the forum said.
“In the private sector, the scope of gender parity action by pioneering firms has begun to broaden from a focus on the workforce to whole-of-business approaches encompassing inclusive design, inclusive supply chains and community impact,” the forum said.
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler has repeatedly said that investors focused on diversity increasingly want companies to disclose the composition of their boards and workforces. The agency plans to release rules requiring such disclosure.
More broadly, the Biden administration in 2021 announced a strategy for promoting gender and other equality. It seeks to open up economic opportunities for women, including well-paying jobs and leadership roles.
“Advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s economic security, safety, health and ability to exercise their most basic rights,” according to the Biden administration. “It is also essential to economic growth and development, democracy and political stability, and the security of nations across the globe.”
“Ensuring that all people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to realize their full potential is, therefore, both a moral and strategic imperative,” the White House said.