Wishful thinking on gender equality
I just received the lowdown on McKinsey Quarterly‘s top 10 most popular articles for 2015. As a subscriber, I was curious where their excellent work on Gender Equality would rank. Top five? Bottom five? I was rooting for it to appear among the top three. Because my team at Weber Shandwick was deep in the throes of launching our own research on gender equality in the executive ranks, we were in watch mode for their September release along with partners’ Lean In and The Wall Street Journal . Talk about a powerhouse team.
Turns out their series of articles based on the research was not among the top 10 most popular articles this year. Instead, their most popular ones include features on innovation, marketing, digital know how, leadership types, etc. How is this possible? Does no one care? I already know the answer from our own survey. Gender equality in the upper ranks is not a top priority among executives around the world. In our survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), most C-level executives (56%) report that their company doesn’t have specific goals in place for achieving gender balance and only 39% of C-level executives report gender diversity in senior management as a high business priority, ranking seventh among 10 priorities. Most companies still do not realize that gender equality is going to be an important driver of corporate reputation. They are losing precious time to make it right.
So why did I think McKinsey’s work would rise to the top? Simply put, wishful thinking.