Why everyone should prioritize gender equality in leadership

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Few organizations make gender equality in leadership a formal business priority, but those that do outperform.

Despite abundant evidence that gender equality in leadership is good for business, an overwhelming majority of organizations say advancing women into leadership roles is not a formal business priority. In fact, women hold only 18 percent of senior leadership positions among 2,300 organizations surveyed worldwide. In other words, men occupy approximately 82 percent of the most influential roles in today’s organizations. And promoting women is not a formal business priority at 79 percent of surveyed organizations. Respondents estimate it could take more than 50 years to close this gap.

DID YOU READ: Nordic Organizations Now Need More than 11 Times Longer to Close Today’s Skills Gap

But companies can make changes to help turn the tide much faster, and there’s a good reason to do so. We discovered a small cohort of exceptional organizations (about 12 percent of respondents) that are more proactive in the push for gender equality in leadership. And they report that they are outperforming their competition in profitability, revenue growth, innovation, and employee satisfaction. We call these organizations “First Movers.”

First Movers acknowledge their responsibility to take action and say they believe gender inclusiveness will result in enhanced organizational success. More than 80 percent have elevated gender-equitable leadership to a strategic business imperative.

From our analysis of the First Movers, we have identified four key practices that can help other organizations close the gender gap in leadership. Read the report below to learn about the practices your organization can use to create an inclusive corporate culture. At IBM we think that all employees should have equal opportunities to grow their careers.

Download the full report


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at and learn how IBM can help you with HR improvements here.

HR Leader IBM Nordic

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