There is an abundance of data available illustrating the game of catch-up women still have to play when it comes to advancing in the workplace. Improvements are being made, but the needle is, by many accounts, moving slowly.


Census Bureau findings released in September show that the female-to-male earnings ratio increased last year from 80% in 2014-15 to 80.5%, meaning that women now make 80.5% of what men do for performing the same work. This was the largest gain for women’s wages in a decade, according to the Census.


When it comes to corporate leadership, globally one in four senior roles are held by women, according to GrantThornton’s 2017 “Women in Business” report. This represents an improvement of 1% from 2016. However, the proportion of businesses with no women in any senior positions has risen from 33% to 34%. The GrantThornton report analyzes data from the firm’s “International Business Report,” which surveys more than 10,000 business leaders in 36 economies annually.


In the United States, women occupied 23% of senior leadership roles in 2016, and the proportion of businesses without women in senior positions was 31%. Both figures held the same as the year prior, according to the report.


GrantThornton’s report also found that women tend to see fewer opportunities than men across many aspects of business, representing a “confidence gap.” The firm emphasized the importance of diversity in leadership, mentoring and sponsoring of female employees, and re-thinking concepts of risk-taking, among other suggestions, to promote more opportunities for women to advance in the workplace.


This edition’s Focus On Women In Business includes interviews with two local women leaders in business with global reach. They each lead organizations in male-dominated industries and are keenly aware of the challenges still facing women in the workplace. Each emphasizes the importance of mentoring and creating more opportunities to pave the way for the successful women leaders of tomorrow.