According to recent research from McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.org, 46 percent of entry level professionals are women, yet only 29 percent of vice presidents and 19 percent of C-suite executives are women. What’s more, in S&P 500 companies, women account for 14.2 percent of top executive positions and only 24 CEO positions, CNNMoney reports.
With this disparity in mind, a group of current and former CEOs and business leaders have launched the Paradigm for Parity coalition, an organization committed to achieving gender parity across all levels of corporate leadership. Urged by female leaders including Ellen Kullman, former chairman and chief executive officer of Dupont Inc., and Jewelle Bickford, partner at Evercore Wealth Management, the CEOs of Accenture, American Electric Power Co., Coca-Cola Co., AstraZeneca and 23 more large global companies have pledged to boost the number of women in their top ranks to parity with men by 2030. To assist in those efforts, the coalition has developed a toolkit of practical actions a company may take, with a focus on better understanding the baseline, improving intake and managing with a diversity mindset.
“We are thrilled to announce the beginning of a movement focused on achieving a new norm in corporate leadership positions: one in which women and men have equal power, status and opportunity,” says Kullman, who also is co-chair of the coalition. “Powerful evidence links gender-balanced leadership with financial and stock market outperformance, and we are proud to partner with 27 major corporations to take definitive action to create the gender balance that will generate those tangible benefits.”
While many organizations support gender equality and call for enhanced diversity in the workplace, the Paradigm for Parity coalition is unique in that it outlines a specific set of concurrent actions a company may take to achieve gender parity, says Bickford, who also is co-chair of the Paradigm for Parity coalition. The coalition’s founders have spent the last 18 months developing the Paradigm for Parity 5-Point Action Plan, a comprehensive roadmap for increasing the number of women in leadership positions, and look forward to working with corporate executives to implement it across their organizations, she explains.
“We support this initiative not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we know we can’t reach our full potential as a business unless we recruit, hire, develop and retain women leaders as part of a diverse leadership team that represents the markets we serve,” says Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “While we’ve made good progress in recent years, we’re committed to pressing toward parity, and believe the learnings we gain through this network will help us scale our work even faster.”
The steps in the Paradigm for Parity 5-Point Action Plan to catalyze change and enable substantial progress toward gender parity by 2030 are:
- Eliminate or minimize unconscious bias in the workplace;
- Significantly increase the number of women in senior operating roles, with the near-term goal of at least 30 percent representation in all leadership groups within the next five years;
- Measure targets and maintain accountability by providing regular progress reports;
- Base career progress on business results and performance, rather than physical presence in the office; and
- Provide sponsors, not just mentors, to women well positioned for long-term success.
To date, the CEOs of the companies that have committed to achieve gender parity in corporate leadership positions by 2030 and follow the Paradigm for Parity Action Plan are: Accenture, Adecco, American Electric Power, APCO Worldwide, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, DSC Logistics, Edison International, Egon Zehnder, Farient Advisors, Frontier Communications, HealthHelp, Huffington Post, Linkage, LinkedIn, McKinsey & Company, MetricStream, NeoGenomics Laboratories, Inc., Newmont Mining, Nordstrom, SAP, Spencer Stuart, TDIndustries, VF Corporation and Voya Financial.
What are your thoughts on the Paradigm for Parity coalition and its goals? Secondly, do you see gender parity in your organization’s supply chain?