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Women in business: beyond policy to progress

Sasha Kerins Sasha Kerins

This is Grant Thornton International’s 13th year producing our International Business Report on Women in Business and the focus of this year’s report is – beyond policy to progress.

2018 has seen some progress with 75% of global businesses having at least one woman in a senior management role, an increase from 66% in 2017. However, there is a fall of one per cent, to 24%, in the proportion of senior roles being held overall by women globally in 2018. This is still well short of the mark needed for businesses to gain the commercial and cultural benefits of real gender diversity. The only territory surveyed where a significant increase can be seen is Latin America which has made large strides in the last 12 months increasing the representation by women in senior roles from 20% to 30%.

Research shows that the implementation of policies alone is not driving change. In order to effectively champion gender diversity, leaders need to make diversity and inclusion a core value for them and their business and inclusion part of the organisation's culture.

Given the lack of pace in change the conversations are now shifting to whether a system of quotas would result in effective progress. Our research points to 47% of businesses supporting the introduction of quotas in particular for executive boards of listed companies.