Corporate America Is Not on a Path to Gender Equality

The study – conducted by McKinsey & Co. and – measured women’s roles in the workforce and how likely they were to make it to the top.


Let’s get the bad news-or the worst news, since in studies like these, there’s always lots to rage about-out of the way first. Sixty-two percent of men and 65 percent of women cited a work-family balance as the reason behind their minimal interest in the C-suite.

“Our findings show that companies have prioritized advancing women and want to change the numbers but are finding it hard”, said Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company.

For starters, the report found that contrary to popular opinion, women aren’t leaving their jobs at higher rates than men. Deloitte, for one, has claimed to have reduced its wage gap by cutting disproportionate attrition rates among woman employees; women who stayed were more likely to be promoted. At every stage in their careers, women are less interested than men in becoming a top executive.

You can read the full Women in the Workplace report below, and you’ll find a PDF version and additional resources at “In a recent report, the bright minds at the McKinsey Global Institute quantified gender equality around the world”. But it could be just as useful as a guide for rank-and-file women trying to understand their options and avoid the stumbling blocks of the current corporate landscape. Yet when asked whether they want a top role in their companies or industries, a majority of women say they would rather not grab the brass ring.

The problem is that women have fewer connections.

It’s not because women are less capable: the evidence is strong that although men tend to be more confident leaders, on average women are more competent leaders.

Even so, women were less eager than men to become top executives. Additionally, 15 percent of men in both middle and senior management believe their gender is inhibiting their success.

While there is still significant work to do, it is encouraging to note that a majority of women and men report being satisfied with their careers, family situations, and personal lives-and at equal rates. And just 28% of senior-level women said theyre very happy with their career, compared with 40% of senior men. This fact dispels the notion that female employees with families are less ambitious than their childless colleagues.

There is still inequality at home: Women continue to do a disproportionate share of child care and housework, so they are more likely to be affected by the challenges of juggling home and work responsibilities.

Women, according to the report, are four times more likely than men to think their gender negatively impacts their opportunities to advance and nearly three times as likely than men to report personally missing out on an assignment, promotion or raise. Moreover, there’s a clear disparity between how women perceive their opportunities for advancement and how their companies see it. Most companies canvassed by Lean In and McKinsey offer flexibility and career-development programs, but participation is low, as employees fear being penalized.


One Article, discussing diversity goals, suggests that real progress can be made only when hiring and promotion targets are set and the meeting of such targets is tied to pay.

Why Aren't More Women in C-Suite Jobs?