Surprising (and Encouraging) Stats about Women in Leadership

women_in_leadershipGender equality in the workplace has been an issue for decades. In some regards, we are seeing very little change. In other situations, there is a barely perceptible glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s take a look at some recent stats that highlight the current situation for women in the workplace.

Emerging Statistics Regarding Women in the Workforce

  • In one study, 90% of the 143 countries reviewed still have laws that restrict women’s economic opportunities (like owning a business).
  • It was also revealed that nearly 80% of global economies restrict the types of jobs women can do.
  • Companies with the best financial performance also have the highest number of executive roles filled by women.
  • One study asked participants to evaluate the effectiveness of the male and female leaders at all organizational levels of the business. When asked to rate their supervisors on competencies (like taking initiate), women outranked men in 12 of the 16 categories.
  • Women hold only 4.6% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies and 4.6% of Fortune 1000 companies.
  • Canada has more women leaders (at all organizational levels) than any other country in the world. Half of all leadership roles are filled by women.
  • The Philippines have the second highest percentage of female leaders. More impressively, 47% of the country’s board members are female.
  • The US tied with the Philippines for number of overall female leaders, but the percentage of executive roles filled by women wasn’t nearly as noteworthy as the Philippines.
  • Thailand had the third highest percentage of women leaders and 38% of female board members.
  • The countries with the least female presence in leadership were Taiwan, India and Japan bringing up the rear. Of these, women board members accounted for 21% in Taiwan, 14% in India and 8% in Japan.
  • In 1992, nearly 40% of full-time IT government employees were women. By 2012, the number dropped to less than 30%.

Implications of Current Trends

Many advocates for women in leadership point to two specific areas where females are lacking: environmental sustainability and technology.

Recent studies show the general population feels environmental conservation is one of the biggest issues the global community faces. People are also looking to business and government leaders to effectuate change.

Mary Robinson, the president of the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice and former president of Ireland, pointed out women are the best equipped to tackle sustainability issues.

Women’s nurturing role as mothers makes them more aware of the negative impacts this generation is inflicting upon the next. Robinson says more women in leadership roles will drastically improve the success of sustainability efforts.

Another area of improvement is technology.

In a recent interview, a Florida business woman offered her opinions about the lack of women in leadership among government IT jobs. Monica Eaton Cardone said, “Women can bring a different perspective to the job. The lack of women in leadership means businesses aren’t tapping the full talent pool at their disposal.”

Monica Eaton-Cardone went on to discuss why this diversity is so important. No jury, she points out, should be comprised of jurors with the exact same opinions. No matter how intelligent they are, a biased jury won’t reach the best conclusions. The same is true for business leadership. Men assess a situation and make a decision based on a very similar school of thought.

Monica Eaton-Cardone (found on Twitter), thinks women bring diversity and objectivity to the executive level of leadership. As the CIO of her company, Eaton-Cardone is part of a small percentage (just over 10%) of women in executive roles in technology firms.

Final Thoughts

In the end, success makes you feel successful. Experience boosts confidence. Positive and successful role models will help encourage more females to take the plunge to accept leadership roles. In fact, current leaders should mentor other women, hoping to provide encouragement that is currently lacking.

What do you think of the current reflection of women in the workplace? Do you find these stats encouraging or discouraging?