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Studies show that nearly 80 percent of women executives are concentrated in finance, legal and HR. This means they are not in operating roles that lead to CEO opportunities.  And men are more likely to receive information on P&L (profit and loss) jobs over women as well as support and encouragement to consider operating roles. This brief looks at why we are focused on achieving parity for women in the c-suite, particularly executive roles with P&L responsibility.

Why focus on the c-suite?

C-suite positions, specifically those with P&L responsibility, are seen as the main pathway to CEO positions. And yet:

  • According to the World Economic Forum the proportion of women in senior executive roles globally has been stuck at 24% for more than a decade
  • In the United States, one in five c-suite leaders are women; one in 25 c-suite leaders are women of color (2018 Women in the Workplace-McKinsey / Lean In)
  • An ISS Analytics study showed that nearly 80% of women executives are concentrated in finance, legal and HR, not in operating roles that lead to CEO opportunities
  • Working Mother Media’s 2019 survey of 3000 men and women leaders showed that 48% of men said they have received detailed information on career paths to P&L jobs in the past 24 months vs 15% of women – and 46% of men were encouraged to consider operating roles vs 14% of women

Our Goals

So how do we change this? First, we’ve built an amazing team of partners: ATHENA International; C200, Catalyst, Ellevate Network; National Association for Female Executives (NAFE); Network of Executive Women (NEW); Watermark; Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD); Women’s Forum of New York; Working Mother Media.

With our partner organizations, we are focusing on actions including providing women with access to information about how to advance into P&L roles starting at mid-career, providing resources around succession planning, and working with relevant research organizations to include questions on the surveys that help to track the pipeline of women in P&L roles, e.g., DDI, etc.

We hope that these actions will lead to:

  • Full gender parity in the c-suite by 2030
  • 8% and 17% of women occupying the c-suite have substantial P&L responsibility by 2025 and 2030 respectively
  • 25% and 30% of candidates assessed for c-suite roles are women by 2025 and 2030 respectively
  • 25% of all women in the c-suite are women of color by 2030
  • Equal numbers of men and women receive detailed information on career paths leading to line management roles by 2025