#GAReads | Research: When People See More Women at the Top, They're Less Concerned About Gender Inequality Elsewhere
Over the last two decades, organizations have seen substantial progress in increasing women’s representation in top leadership. Consider this: in 1995, there were no women Fortune 500 CEOs and only a few token women on Fortune 500 boards; in 2017, there were 31 women Fortune 500 CEOs corporate boardrooms were 22% women. While the numbers are still far from parity, the general view is that this progress for women in top leadership will naturally spread to improve women’s outcomes in other domains, such as pay equality.
Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests otherwise. Despite women’s progress in top leadership, the gender pay gap in the United States has decreased on average by less than 0.4 cents annually since 1960. Iceland, which holds the world record for women’s representation on boards (44% in 2018), continues to have a 14% gender pay gap — equivalent to that of most Western countries. Gender progress in one domain thus frequently coexists with gender inequality in others.