The Unfinished Business of Gender Parity

DAVOS – When it comes to the importance of gender equality in the workplace, the message has clearly gotten through to those at the top. Surveys – including those conducted by my own organization – consistently show that business leaders understand the need for equal treatment of men and women in the workforce.

Indeed, my own conversations with senior businesspeople around the world confirm that progress clearly is being made. The vast majority recognize the issue as imperative to their companies’ success and have implemented measures to promote gender parity in their organizations. And yet, for all the fine words, much more remains to be done before gender parity is actually achieved.

The facts speak for themselves. There is still a pay gap in every country in the world, with men earning more than women for similar jobs. Likewise, the percentage of seats on corporate boards occupied by women appears to have stalled at just over 17%.

This bias has not gone unnoticed – especially among female employees. In a 2015 PwC global survey of female millennials born between 1980 and 1995, half of those working in financial services said they believed that men received more favorable treatment when it came to promotions. More than 70% said that as much as their organizations talk about diversity, in reality, opportunities remain unequal.