New study indicates slow progress on gender parity in Western Europe


Despite compelling evidence demonstrating a correlation between the proportion of women on executive committees and corporate performance, progress toward gender parity in most Western European countries remains bafflingly slow. A new report by McKinsey & Company argues that government and businesses must intervene to create an environment that offers women better opportunities, one that enables women to train for and work in skilled, better-paying sectors, occupations, and roles; that reshapes social norms and attitudes; and that supports work-life balance. To achieve this, “companies need to embark on a broad transformational change journey that will entail re-evaluating their traditional performance models and challenging the long-term viability of their prevailing leadership styles.”


For the past 10 years, McKinsey & Company has researched companies and managers for their “Women Matter” series, and in each year, the researchers have made the case for higher representation of women in top management positions and explored concrete ways to change corporate attitudes toward women in the workplace.


In Women Matter: 2016 Reinventing the workplace to unlock the potential of gender diversity, a survey of 233 companies and 2,200 employees shows that while the vast majority of companies surveyed have introduced measures to increase gender diversity at the top, many are struggling to achieve significant results. The measures mentioned include setting quantitative targets and programs to increase representation of women; launching women development programs such as training, mentoring and networking; establishing and monitoring gender diversity indicators; and HR processes and policies to attract, develop and retain talent.