Execs Are Optimistic about Gender Parity

sunrise-182302_1280The World Economic Forum may think we’re a long way away from leadership parity, but today’s business leaders have a much sunnier outlook on the issue. In a Weber Shandwick survey of 327 executives across the globe, 73 percent said they believe we’ll achieve gender equality in the C-suite by 2030.(Us? We think it’s doable by 2025 if we redefine women’s relationship with power, but 2030 isn’t so far off our goal. It’s certainly much better than the doom-and-gloom predictions that we’ll all be long gone by the time gender equality happens—and we’d really prefer to celebrate it as alive people, not zombies, thank you.)That Weber Shandwick report also happens to be a goldmine of valuable insights into how we get to gender parity, based on the attitudes and actions of current leaders. It identifies six “push forces” propelling us towards equality: increased media coverage of women leaders, a growing demand for professional talent that men alone can’t fill, the emergence of the business case for women in leadership, more ambition from women themselves, Millennials’ high career expectations, and increased stakeholder pressure for diversity.At the same time, “pull forces” are preventing progress from happening as quickly as possible. These include relative C-suite apathy about gender diversity, pipeline fatigue from years of seeing few women achieve top-tier positions, the ongoing existence of the glass ceiling, and the persistent wage gap between men and women.Framed this way, achieving gender parity becomes a matter of amplifying the push forces and negating or minimizing the pull forces. It’s a simple and elegant way of looking at things, even if it’s not so simple to execute in reality.It feels like we say this on a weekly basis, but we highly recommend taking a look at the full report—it’s rare to see such a comprehensive, integrated assessment of all the things Take The Lead talks about on a daily basis.