In 2021, 26% of CEOs and MDs were women as compared to 15%. In 2019, The Fortune Global 500, an all-time high of 23 women CEO's in '21. Gender wage inequality demonstrates that women who reach those positions earn less than their male peers.
One of the biggest barriers for women seeking leadership roles is the persistent gender bias that exists in many organizations. Research has shown that men are often seen as more competent and capable of leadership than women, even when they have the same qualifications.
Delicate balance between masculine, feminine traits
Leadership is no longer defined by gender. Good leaders draw from both feminine and masculine leadership traits. That is what sets them apart and makes them exceptional.
The gender leadership gap is the difference in share between men and women occupying positions at leadership level. Simply put, it is the lack of women in leadership positions. According to the World Economic Forum, women occupy just 33% of leadership positions globally as of 2022.
January 1 was the start date of five new women helming Fortune 500 companies, bringing the total number of female CEOs to 53. Which means, for the first time—after years of being stuck at the 8% mark—over 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.
They hold 57% of all undergraduate degrees and 59% of all master's degrees. From the U.S. workforce, they account for 48.5% of all law degrees and 47.5% of medical degrees. Regardless of these 50/50 percentages, CEO statistics still show that only 31% of those in CEO positions are women.
More women leaders are an absolute must in the world we live in today. Women's leadership as a sub-theme in management is rising. For centuries we have talked about leadership, but we talked about men's experience in leadership while disregarding the profound differences in workplace experiences between genders.
However, research has shown some differences in leadership styles that can be attributed to gender. For example, studies have found that women tend to be more collaborative and participative in their leadership style, while men may be more directive and authoritarian.
Importantly, decision-making involves ethics and moral responsibilities. The approach of male leaders to tasks is based on personal rights, justice as well as fairness; while women handle ethics with sensitivity, empathy and compassion. The ability to manage time is a vital leadership responsibility.
Thus, women are less effective to the extent that the leader role is masculinized, and men are less effective when the role is feminized. For example, a woman can be a very effective military leader, but her platoon may not support her, because she's in a role considered to be incongruent with femininity.
In addition, women experience different socialization processes than men. Even as children, males tend to receive more encouragement to lead, compete and take risks than females do. As a result, men often have more opportunities to develop these skills, which also may help them ascend and succeed in CEO positions.
How Many Fortune 500 CEOs Are women
Women Run More Than 10% of Fortune 500 Companies For the First Time. "10 percent makes it more and more normal—and less risky, subconsciously, to put a woman in the top spot," says Korn Ferry's leader of CEO succession. For years, the share of Fortune 500 companies led by female CEOs has been stuck around 8 percent.
Evidence Supporting Women in Leadership
Another study conducted by S&P Global found that in the two years following their appointment, “female CEOs saw a 20% increase in stock price momentum.” Additionally, companies with more gender diversity on their executive board were more profitable than those without.
The share of women holding top executive positions in the U.S. has grown steadily in recent years, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Women held 31.7% of top executive positions across industries in 2021, a near five-point increase since 2015, when it stood at 27.1%.
1) Unconscious Bias and Limited Workplace Support
Despite the gains in the last decades, leadership traits are considered male attributes. These beliefs perpetuate unequal distribution, access, and progression to leadership roles and positions of power for women.
Informal organizational practices reinforce gendered structures of dominance, which privilege males and masculinity, and normalize and naturalize their positions as leaders (Piggott & Pike, 2019).
As predicted, men emerged as leaders more often than women. But that gap varied depending on the length of interaction and other factors. The data suggest that men were more likely overall to be chosen or rated as leaders, in part because they had more assertive personalities and thus spoke up more.
How does gender inequality affect leadership Ans. Women are seriously underrepresented in leadership. Authoritative roles in decision-making and management are, often, not assigned to women leaders.
On the other hand, great leaders tend to take more risks, quickly evaluating the pros and cons and making decisions. This is where men have the edge, wired from our cave man days to hunt and protect, they have less fear and feel more comfortable in this arena. Bottom line, great leadership is gender neutral.
Moreover, gender parity for all women remains elusive at lower and middle management, specifically within entry- and mid-level leadership roles. According to the most recent McKinsey data, women make up 48 percent of all entry-level hires but only 38 percent of first-level managers.
In laboratory experiments and assessment studies, stereotypical gender ascriptions were found, suggesting that male leaders are task-oriented (i.e., agentic) and female leaders are person-oriented (i.e., communal).
Regardless of these 50/50 percentages, CEO statistics still show that only 31% of those in CEO positions are women. This is also applicable to women in political leadership who by the beginning of 2019, were at only 24%.
Unfortunately, many discriminatory factors reduce the demand for female CEOs. For one thing, women are subject to gender stereotypes. The stereotypical qualities of effective leaders—such as aggression, ambition, and dominance—tend to overlap with the stereotypical qualities of men more than women.
31.5% of all chief executive officers are women, while 68.5% are men. The average chief executive officer age is 51 years old. The most common ethnicity of chief executive officers is White (76.0%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (7.9%), Asian (7.8%) and Unknown (3.9%).