At this rate, it’ll take 35 years for women to make up half the corporate sky

Women are half the world’s population –  a wise man once said “women hold up half the sky.”

At the current rate, it will take 35 years for women to hold up half the corporate sky!

And when we look at the data on women in leadership positions in European or S&P500 companies, for example, we have a bittersweet picture: Only 15.6% of executives and 5.6% of CEOs of large European companies are women. Yes, these two figures have increased over the last four years… but by only one percentage point per year. Not much different from the S&P500 figures, where women make up 16.5% of executives and 5% of CEOs.

At this rate, we will reach a 50/50 gender balance in 2052. Does it make sense for women to only support 16% of the corporate sky? Seriously? No, it doesn’t.

Many studies correlate the relationship between better economic performance of companies with more gender balanced leadership teams. Likewise, it is widely demonstrated that diverse teams are a platform for value creation in companies – whether by driving growth, reducing costs, increasing productivity of assets – diverse teams are more efficient.

So the question is: What do we expect? The time has come to accelerate. An annual percentage point is not enough. But how do we enable this acceleration? The World Economic Forum provides a few guidelines in its report “the future of jobs report”.

The key takeaways from this analysis:

  • companies have to work holistically, embed inclusion nudges in their processes and communication,
  • raise awareness about unconscious bias and, where possible, mitigate against unconscious bias
  • work with all talent to best leverage them into leadership roles, whatever their gender

So what is Nokia doing about it?

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