Is Corporate America on a Path to Gender Equality?

More female employment would boost the economy, 50 women leaders join us for a discussion on how to achieve gender equality in the workplace.

The career gender gap numbers are staggering. According to new research from McKinsey & Company, it will take up to one hundred years to reach gender parity at the CEO level. Yet, if the gender gap in work can be narrowed to a best case scenario, then $2.1 trillion US dollars could be added to the US economy by 2025.

From tech companies to Hollywood, gender inequality in the workplace has been hitting headlines for the past year. “Gender equality in the workplace is getting unprecedented attention as a result of much more data being publicly available, much of it quite disappointing given how long we have been working on these issues,” said Karen Keogh, head of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase.

women sitting on a stage during a Women On The Move event

Karen Keogh, head of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase kicks off Gender Issues in the Workplace luncheon event at JPMorgan Chase’s New York headquarters.

With The Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s business leadership and its largest private sector employers, we invited 50 women leaders from various industries to discuss how to establish an equitable work environment.

While women are still underrepresented at every level in the corporate pipeline, the disparity is greatest in senior leadership. McKinsey & Company Partner Julie Goran presented Women in the Workplace, a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. “It’s the business roles that are more likely to lead to senior management roles and to lead to CEO roles,” she noted, yet women’s representation in these positions is much lower compared to men. This can impede women’s path to senior leadership.

women sitting on a stage during a Women On The Move event

Julie Goran and Kweilin Ellingrud, partners at McKinsey & Co. present research findings on gender equality in the workplace.

During the discussion session at the event, almost every participant raised their hand to show their companies have programs and policies that highlight gender equality, which is a step in the right direction. But they are still not seeing the results they would like to see. For example, according to the report, more than 90 percent of both women and men believe taking extended family leave will hurt their careers.

The main takeaway from the panel was that it is critical for organizations to make a significant investment to change company practices and culture. To make real headway, senior-level women need to continue to reach for the highest levels of management and serve as mentors and role models for junior women.

Learn more about the gender pay gap.

Learn more about Women on the Move, our initiative that supports the advancement of women by addressing the unique challenges they face.