Women in the CEO Role: Is Gender Diversity Still a Barrier?

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In my fantasy world, there would have never been a glass ceiling. 

Women would have always been equally competent, and their achievements recognized in boardrooms worldwide as a result of balance.

If it were the case, then I think that the #Flexappeal campaign would not exist. We would not have come to the point where we should debate the advantages or necessity of having women’s work rights since it already is a well-established and efficient standard with women’s equality.

However, we're not there. But if the fundamental problem is not addressed, are we merely banging our heads with no prospect of ever getting there? 

I would also say that if everyone at the boardroom table looks like you do, you're doing the diversity thing wrong.

Key Statistics:

  • Senior management accounts for 29% of women.
  • 3500 Fortune firms are headed by women CEOs.
  • Women in the United States only hold 31% of senior positions.
  • The Fortune 500 companies employ 12.5 percent of American women as Chief Financial Officers.
  • The chances of female executives getting dismissed are higher than male executives.
  • The CEO of Bet365, Denise Coates, made $277 million in 2019.

Statistics from the men against women of the CEO reveal a significant disparity in the salary given.

The proportion of women in senior leadership differs by region.

Honestly, gender affects the role of the Chief Executive Officer. A person’s gender in the Chief Executive Officer position affects the future of the organization.

It is important to note that the three factors considered for a person of either gender to land a Chief Executive Officer position are;

  1. Work ethics
  2. Ability to build relationships
  3. Passion


The path to becoming a CEO is longer for female executives in this particular group, averaging two years longer among YPO members.

Most corporates feel the pressure to bridge the gap of gender bias through; hiring, employee

evaluations, promoting employees to executive positions, and avoiding stereotypes in marketing practices. 

Career drivers appear to have been formed by culture or market realities in different parts of the world. Respondents in Europe were most likely to pursue a career as a professional manager as their first job.

The following are barriers that women face to overcome this inequality:

  1. Leaders have different challenges based on where they live. For example, respondents in Africa were more likely to mention “fear of failure” (47 percent Africa, 39 percent rest of world). Still, respondents in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) were more likely to say “lack of mentors” was a barrier (51 percent MENA, 36 percent rest of world).
  1. Furthermore, according to the World Economic Forum report, the workplace issues women encountered during the epidemic have been worsened by digitization and the necessity to take on “double-shift responsibilities” due to school closures and insufficient care facilities. McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org's Women in the Workplace 2020 report also underlined the toll the pandemic is taking on women and the burnout senior-level women are feeling as a result of the stress.

  1. Because of these work/life trade-offs, women put their career objectives on wait and make more sacrifices than males. Female CEOs may be able to overcome this issue due to their determination. Almost one-third (30%) of female respondents cited a “strong passion for difficult goals” as a motivator for what helped them the most on their path to the corner office.

Wrap up