For many companies, celebrating equality, talent and diversity has become a CEO-level issue and one of the core focus areas. Industry leaders emphasize equal pay opportunities and promoting women leaders to higher management levels with bigger responsibilities. Marc Benioff has become a role model by closing the pay gap and introducing “Equality” as a business value. Together with the UN, CEOs Paul Polman, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Vittorio Colao, Bill McDermott have become impact champions for diversity and equality in the workplace globally. Fast changing filed, like technology, attract dreamers who want to have an impact, innovate, and contribute.
However, despite the increased media focus and the fact that last few decades demonstrated significant strides in employment and gender equality, the progress of women leaders in the workplace surprisingly slowed down. In 1979, women were paid 63 cents for every dollar men earned. In 2012, over 30 years later, that number rose to 81 cents per dollar. In the 1980s and 1990s, women made substantial gains of 8 to 10 percentage points in term of closing the wage gap, but between 2003 and 2013, the wage gap has declined by 1 point, according to a study by University of Massachusetts.
With this rate of progress, it will take until 2133 to close the gender gap, says the World Economic Forum.
Other statistics corroborate this trend. In 1990, the US had a 77% women in the workforce participation rate and was only outperformed by 5 other countries; Denmark, Canada, Finland, Norway and Sweden. In 2014, women participation dropped to 73.8%, while several other European nations thrived at rates exceeding 85%, according to the OECD.