Five lessons from EY’s gender gap journey

It could take 170 years to reach gender parity, according to latest research. Here are five steps your business can take to close the gender gap

Every year, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report offers an important opportunity to reflect on the state of gender equality around the world – where we are and how far we still have to go. This year, as always, the results are striking: at the rate we’re currently going, it could take us 170 years – the better part of two centuries – before we see economic parity between women and men.

This is a challenge we all need to confront. Because closing the gender gap isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do for our businesses and the global economy. Our research with the Peterson Institute for International Economics recently found that companies with at least 30% female leaders can add as much as 6% to their net margins. In an internal study we did at EY, we reviewed 22,000 audits around the world, and found that gender-balanced teams didn’t just consistently produce better quality audits – they also had better financial performances overall.

At EY, we’ve been on our own path to close the gender gap. These efforts are part of our Vision 2020 business strategy, which also includes our broader goal of advancing diversity and inclusiveness. Over the last few years, we’ve intensified that work by laying out a roadmap for success, which everyone – individuals, teams, and leadership – can use to design, track and advance our progress. We’ve made some important strides, and, just as importantly, we’ve learned a lot along the way.

Here are five of the key lessons we’ve learned…

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