Gender Parity In The Workforce May Still Be A Generation Away

By Thomas Content
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In the past 10 years, little progress has been made at closing the global gender gap between men and women in the workplace, and corporate leaders surveyed by Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup Inc. believe it will take another generation to achieve parity.

Those findings highlight two new reports discussed Friday in Davos, Switzerland, on why it’s so tough to close the gender gap.
An entrenched male culture is the biggest barrier to making progress, ManpowerGroup found in its report, released at the World Economic Forum. The report says millennials are optimistic that their generation will be the one that achieves parity. But not anytime soon, the company’s survey found. Millennial women say it will take 22 years to achieve parity.

A separate report, published by The World Economic Forum on the Industry Gender Gap, found women account for 30% of the workforce across multiple industries, even though they outnumber men in attending universities. Women earn 32% less than men in comparable positions, the survey found.

According to the survey, just 9% of global CEOs are women. Females make up 28% of corporate boards, 15% of senior management functions and 25% of midlevel roles.

“Can we afford to wait another generation? And do we risk losing out on human potential if millennial females become disillusioned with the corporate world? Women are already voting with their feet. Almost half of all small and medium-sized enterprises are majority or equally-led by women,” ManpowerGroup’s report says.

Companies and other organizations need to use the principle of “conscious inclusion” and not limit women’s roles to just certain parts of the organization, said Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive of ManpowerGroup, during a Davos session Friday on gender parity.

“Women tend to be clustered in certain professions or certain functions, and we believe for there to be more female leaders at the helm of companies — and there are only 4% of (U.S.) companies led by a female CEO — you need to make sure you have women in technical roles and business roles and P&L (profit-and-loss) roles,” Prising said.

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