20-first releases its new 2013 Global Gender Balance Scorecard

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Every year, the 20-first Global Gender Balance Scorecard looks at a single measure of progress: the gender balance of the Executive Committee of the TOP 100 companies in three key regions of the globe.

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Companies have made progress this year on balancing their Boards, but a lot less on their Executive Committees. And the real challenge remains: the talent pipeline...
-- Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO, 20-first

See below 20-first's key findings and find out in this attached report where your company stands and what the top companies have achieved to date on their gender balance journey.

The Core Metric: The Executive Committee

Key Findings

US Moves. The US leads the way with 55% of companies having at least two women on their Executive Committees. However, upon closer inspection the picture is not quite so rosy. Of the 1,206 Executive Committee members of America’s Top 100 companies, only 195 (or 16%) are women and 1011 (or 84%) are men. The majority of these female Executive Committee members are in staff or support positions (130, or 11% of total) such as HR, Communications or Legal, whereas only 65 women (or 5% of total) are in line or operational roles.

Europe Stuck. With only 25% of companies having at least two women on their Executive Committees, the overall picture shows that European companies are still struggling to make progress in gender balancing their top teams. Of the 972 Executive Committee members of Europe’s Top 100 companies, only 94 (or 10%) are women and 878 (or 90%) are men. Again, most of these women (63, or 7% of total) are in staff or support roles. Only 31 women (or 3% of total) are in line or operational roles.

Asia Still Lags. With only 8% of companies having at least two women on their Executive Committee, the overall picture is one of significant imbalance. Indeed, compared to the 1022 men (97%) on Executive Committees in Asia, there are only 20 women in staff roles (1.9% of total) and a mere 12 women in line or operational roles (1,1% of total).

The 6 Phases of the Gender Journey

The survey presents companies along the spectrum of six phases on gender balance:

1. Asleep - Some companies haven't even started the journey; we put them in our 'Asleep' category. These companies are still, in 2013, run by an exclusively male team.

2. Token - Many companies have appointed a 'Token' woman to the team, or sometimes two, but in any case less than 15% of the Executive Team. And in this category, she is in a staff or support function rather than a line or operational role. This is a key distinction for companies interested in creating sustainable and effective role models.

3. Starting Smart - Next are the 'Starting Smart' companies. They also only have a single woman, or less than 15%, but she is in a central core or operational role, or is even CEO, and so offers a better role model to get companies started on the journey.

4. Progressing - Moving right along, are companies that have progressed beyond a single representative of the female sex, and have achieved a male/female balance between 85/15 and 75/24. These companies are beginning to render visible at senior levels the investment they have made in building their talent pipelines over the previous decade.

5. Critical Mass - These are companies that have achieved a male/female ratio of at least 75/25. This is the level at which the women on the team - and their views - are no longer seen as minority representatives, but as integral parts of the talent and executive pool.

6. Balanced - The rare companies that have achieved gender balance, with a minimum 40% of either gender on the Executive Team. This is where the gender journey ends, and where balance at the top begins to reflect the reality of 21st century customers, leadership and talent and gives companies the competitive edge to innovate and deliver value sustainably and globally.

20-first works with organisations that seek to move from 20th century mindsets, management styles and marketing approaches into more progressive 21st century forms - and to stay first at the game. Thus our name. It underlies our purpose, and those of the clients we serve. 20-first works with progressive global companies around the world interested in responding to both halves of the market and optimizing both halves of the talent pool - the male and female halves.

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox is CEO of 20-first. Based in London, she is a consultant, coach and author of HOW Women Mean Business (Wiley 2010) and WHY Women Mean Business (Wiley, 2008), see http://www.WHYandHOWWomenMeanBusiness.com . She helps companies develop more inclusive leadership styles, promote more gender-balanced management teams and review processes and policies to better respond to both halves of the talent pool and both halves of the market.


For additional information on 20-first's 2013 Global Gender Balance Scorecard and to schedule an interview with Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, please contact:

Jacqueline Lapasin
+33 1 39 21 08 49


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