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Women in Business and Management 2019: The business case for change

International Labour Organization


Global Other Countries Other Regions Asia Pacific Australia Myanmar Vietnam The Philippines Indonesia


Workplace Gender Equality

Gender diversity Gender pay gap Gender-inclusive policies Leaky pipeline

Women in Business and Management 2019: The business case for change

Women in Business and Management 2019: The business case for change

Globally, since 1991, the share of women’s participation in the labour force has grown, albeit with differences from region to region and within regions. In Asia and the Pacific, however, there have been declines.

This research finds that the share of women in managerial positions across the globe is growing considerably. From 2002, a steady upward trend of women filling the ranks at greater speed than men is seen, particularly in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia. These gains have yet to lead to a major shift in the gender composition of senior leadership and decision-making positions within companies.

The finding in this report that is of paramount importance is that gender diversity is a smart business strategy: the lack of gender diversity may act as a barrier to enhanced business performance. Most companies of all sizes around the world report that gender diversity helps improve business outcomes. The business benefits of gender balance accrue when a gender-inclusive culture begins to flourish. The benefits can be dramatic when there is gender balance on the board of directors. When enterprises have gender-balanced boards, the positive effects on enhanced business outcomes are the largest.


  • Introduction
  • Scope of enterprise survey on women in business and management
  • The business and economic case for a gender-diverse workforce
    • The effect of female employment on GDP
    • Gender diversity initiatives enhance business outcomes
    • Gender diversity’s link to enterprise profits
    • Attracting and retaining skills
    • Female talent pool still widening
  • Gender diversity in business and management
    • Women in management
    • Women as business owners
    • Chief executive level
    • Talent pipeline leaking
    • “Glass walls” hindering the pathway to the top
    • Fixing the leaky pipeline
  • Gender diversity in the boardroom and corporate governance
    • Women on boards
    • Women as board chairpersons
    • Gender diversity on boards and its wider impact
    • “Glass walls” on company boards
    • Initiatives to advance gender diversity on boards
  • Transforming the wider business environment
    • Shaping a gender-inclusive organizational culture
    • Reducing the pay gap
    • Implementing effective enterprise policies and measures
  • Way forward

Source: International Labour Organization

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