Women Matter

posted February 6th, 2014 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment


Since 2007, McKinsey & Company has published Women Matter, a series which analyzes the state of diversity in the top management of corporations. In January 2014, they released Women Matter 2013 “Gender diversity in top management: Moving corporate culture, moving boundaries.”


For me, the highlights of the survey results are:


  1. Female executives are ambitious and sure of their own abilities to become top managers, though they are less confident that their companies’ cultures can support their rise.
  2. Cultural factors at work are more than twice as likely as individual factors to link to women’s confidence that they can reach top management. Culture has a critical role to play in either supporting or hindering efforts to advance diversity.
  3. At the individual level, female respondents report that their career ambitions are just as high as those of their male peers. Women are ready to do what it takes to achieve their ambitions.
  4. While three-quarters of men agree that diverse leadership teams with significant numbers of women generate better company performance, fewer recognize the corporate challenges women face. Just 19 percent of male respondents strongly agree that reaching top management is harder for women, and they are almost six times more likely than women to disagree.
  5. Another challenge is the performance model that many companies adhere to. Most men and women agree that a top-level career implies “anytime, anywhere” availability to work, and this standard imposes a particularly severe penalty on female professionals.
  6. 62% of all respondents agree having children is compatible with a top-level career for women, while 80% say so for men.
  7. At home, women feel less supported than men do, a difference in views that is greatest right before the C-level.
  8. While nearly all male and female executives believe women can lead just as effectively as men, male respondents were not as strongly convinced.
  9. Almost 40% of female respondents believe their leadership and communication styles don’t fit with the prevailing habits required to be effective top managers where they work.
  10. In terms of the most important drivers for increasing gender diversity at the top, executives identified two in particular: first, strong CEO and top-management commitment and second, a corporate culture and mind-sets that support gender-diversity objectives.


“There is a clear need to engage male executives, given that men are notably less likely than women to see value in diversity initiatives, less aware of the challenges women face, and more likely to think that too many measures that support women are unfair to men…Unless more men (and men at the top) actively support a gender-diversity agenda, our experience suggests that nothing will change. Ultimately, what is good for women will also be good for men – and for corporations.”


I encourage you to read the summary report, if not the entire report.  This is the link to the summary report and you will find a link to the full report within it.  http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Organization/Moving_mind-sets_on_gender_diversity_McKinsey_Global_Survey_results?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1401


In my opinion, these findings support what many women have been saying (and feeling) for a long time and it feels good to have a reputable firm publish survey results which provide confirmation of what we have known to be true for so long!! Thank you, McKinsey!!


In the end, it is what those in the position to do something to bring change to their organizations do with these research results and others like them. Ask yourself: What type of leader do I want to be? How can I have the impact I want to have?


I would love to hear your comments on this post. Please provide them in the Comments section below.

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