Where Are We Now With Gender Equality And Women On Boards? Not As Far As We Should, Are We? Covid-19 Cannot Be The Excuse For Everything
BIZ EDIT - where are we now
Published on March 17, 2021
published on March 17, 2021

The PeopleAlchemist Edit: change & transformation, business & lifestyle experimentation for TheWomanAlchemist


Where are we now with Gender Equality and women on boards?

The prediction of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 states that it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on current progress. The Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic slowdowns have affected women disproportionately. With Covid-19, the gender equality topics slipped down the list of priorities in governmental agendas. 




Women represent 39% of the global workforce but experienced 54% of job losses in the first half of 2020. That’s because women represent most of the workforce in sectors most heavily hit by the pandemic.  And this, in turn, makes the inequalities even worse. 

In 2020, we also saw the narrative shifting from gender diversity to diversity and inclusion more generally. Now, don’t get me wrong; this is positive overall. However, there isn’t enough data on other diversity markers and interjection with gender, making it difficult to measure performance.

The McKinsey & Company Diversity Wins Report 2020 found that “companies whose boards are in the top quartile of gender diversity are 28 per cent more likely than their peers to outperform financially”. And this is a material differentiator for companies.

Gender diversity in the boardroom is important because it promotes a comprehensive collection of experiences, viewpoints and backgrounds. This can result in better decision-making and alignment with a broader customer spectrum. 

Increasing women on boards has been the focus so far, with limited attention directed towards women in executive positions. However, we have seen some positive developments with an increase in the percentage of women on boards across all regions.

But what exactly was the cause of this increase? And can this be used to drive change within corporations more broadly?

Women on the board is a measurable performance indicator. Therefore, it is easier to focus on with the expectation that this would trickle down the rest of organisations like a “halo effect”;  by, for example, providing visible leadership role models, breaking down stereotypes, and encouraging women to pursue their careers further ad so on. 


But does better representation at the board level improves the overall diversity metrics?


It does not seem so.

The expected improvement, such as the increase of the women in leadership and management roles and/or the pay ratios, has not translated.

On the contrary, the relationship between women on the board and other diversity indicators is low (S&P Corporate Sustainability Assessment).

More women on boards are not enough to achieve gender equality. And more women on boards do not necessarily equate to more women directors either. You could have, for example, the few holding more than one directorship, meaning increasing the board diversity numbers for multiple companies rather than growing individual women taking up these positions. Furthermore, we cannot automatically assume that women on boards have diversity and inclusion at the top of their agenda just because they are women.

Gender equality performance should not be measured just on the percentage of women on boards but by looking at the wider spectrum of positions at the leadership and management level, which can be achieved with a broader approach. I’ll leave this for a future article.

What is your experience as a woman in business? Please do share.

This is a subject I am VERY passionate about, and I could go on for aaaaages …

You may be interested  in two previous articles I wrote on this subject:


You might want to pick up my book “STOP IT! It is all in your head”  or the “THINK, LOOK & ACT THE PART” working-book series.

As I said, I could go on and on about this subject … Where are we now? Nowhere near enough.


Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert


Hi there, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please do provide me with feedback.

I want to hear ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. If you disagree with me or want to provide a different perspective, leave a comment. Tell me what’s on your mind.

Do remember though to be respectful and kind – we can agree to disagree, no need to be nasty. Thank you.


Laura xxx

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in my posts are ‘affiliate links‘. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, for example as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no extra cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and absolutely would recommend to my readers.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!