Unraveling the fabric ceiling

Tracking female leadership in the apparel industry

The lack of female leadership in the C-suite is not news to anyone, yet the problem persists. Although women comprise half the workforce in the United States, they remain vastly underrepresented at the highest executive levels: A scant 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

Only 12.5% of apparel and retail apparel companies in the Fortune 1000 are led by women. The lack of female executives is particularly troubling, given that women enter the apparel industry in droves early in their careers.

So why are women not more prevalent in leadership roles – especially in an industry such as apparel where both employees and customers are overwhelming women?

Industry experts on diversity and inclusion point to 4 key barriers of advancement:

1. Lack of CEO championship
2. Unconscious bias
3. Fewer women in the pipeline
4. Societal constraints


Read the report

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