Despite progress, gender parity among business leaders remains decades away

Soyoung Han (PIIE) and Marcus Noland (PIIE)

May 7, 2020

Despite progress, gender parity among business leaders remains decades away

Despite steady progress since 1997, women remain elusive among the leadership of publicly listed firms. In 1997, women made up less than 8 percent of executive officers, 5 percent of directors, and 3 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs). By 2017 these figures had increased to around 16, 13, and 6 percent, respectively, but gender parity remains a long way off.

If current trends continue, it will take more than a generation to reach gender parity. Extrapolating from current trends, women will not achieve equal representation among executive officers until 2051. For CEO positions it will take even longer, with male CEOs likely outnumbering their female counterparts for the next 43 years.

This PIIE Chart was adapted from Soyoung Han and Marcus Noland’s Policy Brief, “Women scaling the corporate ladder: Progress steady but slow globally.”

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Soyoung Han Research Analysts
Marcus Noland Senior Research Staff