Gender parity grows across the globe
Reflecting the global results, in this wave of our Women in Business reporting almost all of the regions that were measured recorded their respective highest or equal highest proportions of women in senior management. This is notable in a year when every region suffered the economic impacts of the pandemic to a greater or lesser degree. Encouragingly, 83% of the countries surveyed recorded a proportion of women leaders over the 30% tipping point. In our 2020 report, that figure was considerably lower, at just over half (55%).
Within the overall positive trend, there are success stories for a number of regions.
Africa, consistently one of the best-performing regions for female leadership, has continued its upward trajectory. Although this year’s increase is not as impressive as the 7% year-on-year lift seen in 2020, over five reporting cycles the region’s figures have improved significantly – from 29% in 2017 to 39% in 2021.
The European Union, meanwhile, has also seen a reasonable lift from 30% to 34%, with over a third of all senior positions now being held by women. This marks an eight-point increase since 2017.
Close behind Africa in the 2021 ratings is ASEAN, with 38% of senior roles filled by women. This marks a near total recovery to its record level of 39% in 2018, following an 11-percentage point slide to 28% in 2019. That slip is a cautionary tale that change isn’t guaranteed to follow a positive trajectory.
Latin America has also continued to recover from a 2019 dip to record a 36% proportion of women in senior management. This is the most impressive regional performance over the five most recent research reports, rising from 20% in 2017.
North America has seen more mixed results, but nonetheless improved its 2020 score by four percentage points, and its 2017 figure by 10 percentage points overall. At 33%, the region has achieved a figure of one in three senior roles occupied by women.
Overall, APAC is the poorest performer, falling just short of the 30% tipping point at 28%. The region’s improvement since 2017 stands at three percentage points, with 2021 returning its proportion of women in senior management to the level seen in 2019, after a minor dip in 2020.