EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: Business’s Greatest Untapped Resource: Women

Companies must affect positive change early on to continue to retain talented women and clear the path to leadership.
Mar 22, 2018 11:00 AM ET

Originally posted in Thomson Reuters

Fiona Dawson, Global President of Mars Food, Drinks and Multisales at Mars, Incorporated

Women occupy just 15 percent of board seats worldwide. In the US, women account for just five percent of all CEOs among S&P 500 companies. In the UK the situation is worse: in 2016 there were more male CEOs named David (eight) than women CEOs (six) in the FTSE 100.

These figures make for uncomfortable reading for men and women alike, but we have two choices in the face of this harsh reality – we can either feel discouraged by the lack of progress and downbeat about the prospects for women in the workplace. Or, we can allow this data to fuel women’s rise to the top and help drive the change that is needed at the higher echelons of business.

We need to fill the pipeline of female leaders fast. The question is – how?

A new report ‘Better Leadership, Better World: Women Leading for the Global Goals’, from WomenRising2030 – a new initiative launched by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission – shows that women’s leadership in business is critical to driving significant economic opportunities and driving better performance.

Even more, the report argues that women’s leadership is key to delivering broader, long-term benefits for society and the environment, driving achievements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – a set of 17 objectives to end hunger, poverty, and inequality, and effectively tackle climate change and resource degradation by 2030.

Without gender equality, male-dominated companies risk losing out on significant opportunities linked to sustainability.

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