A Look at the Current State of Women’s Diversity in Corporate America

DEI professionals and women’s rights advocates alike have been pressing for greater equity, representation and inclusion for female workers in America’s boardrooms for decades.

While strides have been made in the 170 years since the dawn of women’s suffrage and the 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, which marked the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the U.S., that progress often continues at a snail’s pace, pushed forward primarily by glass ceiling bursting female executives and companies brave enough and willing enough to embrace and invest in female leadership. Here’s a snapshot of where things currently stand in the movement:

Progress at a Glacial Pace

From the C-Suite to the boardroom, the good news is that gender diversity has increased significantly in the U.S. business world over the past decade. But while more and more women’s voices are being heard in more corporate settings, the progress that is being made is still occurring at an incredibly slow rate.

The Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols College estimates that while women represent 47% of the workforce (and 45% of the S&P 500 workforce), they make up just 4% of executive leadership roles. Even worse, despite a slow but ongoing increase in the availability of these roles, they are also still victims of the ongoing gender wage gap, with most female executives still earning approximately 79 cents to every dollar a man in an equivalent position earns.

Data from other research groups yields similarly troubling findings. In its recently updated 2022 business workforce pyramid, global nonprofit gender diversity watchdog Catalyst reported that while women make up an estimated 47% of the workforce, they continue to hold just 41% of general management positions, and just 29% of executive leadership roles.

The group also reports that while the number of women included in S&P 500 and Fortune 500 corporate boards has recently reached an all-time record high — with 30% of current board positions being filled by women — overall board parity remains low, with many organizations having just a single female board member (usually, someone who is white rather than a person of color).

Hurdles to Overcome

In its 2021 Women in the Workplace annual report, global management consulting firm McKinsey pointed out that many companies aren’t willing to invest in and train women in the workforce to fill leadership roles in the future. It’s often not the lack of qualified female talent that is holding back corporate gender diversity but rather poor planning and recruiting on the corporate level.

McKinsey’s report shows that only 86 women are promoted for every 100 men promoted to manager. This means that men outnumber women at the manager level, leading to fewer women to promote to higher levels.

This trend has been seen since 2016, and Black, Latinx, and Asian women are especially hard hit by this phenomenon, McKinsey wrote.

“Between the entry-level and the C-suite, the representation of women of color drops off by more than 75%,” according to the report. “As a result, women of color account for only 4% of C-suite leaders, a number that hasn’t moved significantly in the past three years.”

Latest News

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Receives 12 Platinum Honors at the MUSE Creative Awards

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   Marriott International’s unmatched portfolio of luxury brands earned 12 Platinum Awards representing 5 dynamic brands, across 10 categories in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards — an international competition for creative professionals. The industry leader within the luxury…

Marriott International Debuts Its New Global Headquarters Focused on Wellbeing

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   After six years of planning, design and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. The 21-story, 785,000-square-foot, LEEDv4 Gold-certified building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting over 8,100 hotels in 139…