According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute, the percentage of women in executive board positions worldwide has doubled since 2010. Across the globe, women have gone from holding 15.3% of board positions in 2015 to 20.6% this year, making us one-fifth of the world’s executives.
The research results vary across regions, tracking the progress of each continent. North America led the charts by demonstrating the best improvement rate, with women-held board positions jumping from 17.3% to 24.7% in just five years. In the Asia-Pacific region, rates are increasing at a slower pace, but more women hold executive positions and chief financial positions than anywhere else in the world.
The report attributes the increase to two factors: 1) a heightened awareness of a need for gender diversity, and 2) a change in who does the hiring. In Asian countries, specifically, the increase was exemplified by raised awareness and formal regulations implemented to diversify boardrooms. Similarly, the countries with higher numbers of women executives also reported higher numbers of women in managerial or hiring positions.
Research findings debunk what psychologists call the “Queen Bee syndrome,” a term that describes a woman executive in a male-dominated field who purposefully hinders the progress of other women in the same company. According to surveys, women CEOS were more likely to surround themselves with other women in their industries, regardless of seniority. Additionally, women CEOs were 50% more likely than their male counterparts to hire a woman financial executive, and 55% were more likely to trust women to lead business operations.
Researchers have found multiple benefits of having gender-balanced boardrooms. Women are necessary for curating mass audiences of other women, which can lead to better financial opportunities for a company. It has also been discovered that boardrooms with at least 30% women generate more positive work environments and encourage new ideas within staff. And most importantly, gender balance in executive areas ensures that women’s voices are being heard.