Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Women in Leadership Statistics in 2024: Where We Are & Where We Need to Go

Unveil the latest women in leadership statistics and companies' efforts to close the gender gap.
In This Post:

Female leadership is assertive, inclusive, and empowering. Yet, the latest women in leadership statistics still, very clearly, point out the gender disparity in management roles. 

In 1889, Anna Bissell became the first-ever female CEO in America. Her carpet sweeper company was acknowledged by Queen Victoria herself and became a sweeping success. Female CEOs have come a long way since the 1880s, and women now make up roughly 30% of all leadership roles. 

But, despite reaching several leadership milestones in the last couple of years, women still remain highly underrepresented.  

The wage gap remains an issue, stereotyping and microaggression are part of the job, and women are even more prone to burnout after the pandemic. 

The need for change is evident. But to make a difference, we first need to understand the issue. These women in leadership statistics are a great start.

Male vs. Female CEO Statistics

Women can, in fact, have it all. But how much will this affect them compared to their male counterparts? 

Male vs. female CEO statistics show that the business world enforces double standards, further widening the gender gap. Because women are more often the caregivers, they are less likely to get promoted. Moreover, women earn less than men in the same positions. 

Still, female CEOs are on the rise worldwide, showing that women are determined and resilient, two characteristics fitting for a great leader.

  • The latest female CEO statistics show a slight age difference between male and female CEOs. On average, women CEOs are older, partially because it takes them longer to reach such a position. (Korn Ferry, 2021) 
  • In terms of executive roles, 22% of all Chief Operating Officers are women, 36% are Chief Finance Officers, and 21% are Chief Information Officers. (Grant Thornton, 2021) 
  • Of all C-suite leaders, only three percent are women of color, compared to 20% white women, 62% white men, and 13% men of color. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Women of color are also least represented in positions like managers (12%), senior managers (9%), VPs (7%), and SVPs (5%). (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Only one out of 50 women in board-level positions is Asian. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • A total of 32 women run S&P 500 company. That’s only 6.4%. (Catalyst, 2022) 
  • Female CEO statistics show that women in executive positions earn 76 cents for every dollar a man in the same rank makes. (Narrow The Gap, 2020) 
  • Women CEOs are 45% more likely to be fired. (Springer Link, 2018) 
  • Russell 3000 companies have 26.7% women on their boards. (5050WOB, 2022) 
  • Still, Russell 3000 companies have less than 10% female CEOs. (5050WOB, 2022) 
  • Women leaders strive for diversity more than men. With a female CEO, 39% of board members are also women. With male CEOs, the number is as low as 26%. (5050WOB, 2022) 
  • Companies led by women have much more gender-balanced boards (34%) than those led by men (6%). (5050WOB, 2022) 
  • Regardless of the CEO’s gender, companies with female Chairman have up to 60% women in leadership roles, compared to just 27% with man Chairs. (5050WOB, 2022) 
  • 26% of women hold a C-suite position. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • 32% are vice presidents, and 28% are in senior positions. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Only one in four C-suite executives is a woman. Out of those, only one in 20 is a woman of color. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • 28.2% of women hold corporate board seats in Russell 3000 companies. 6% of those are women of color. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • 30% of board seats in the biggest 1000 companies on the Russell 3000 belong to women. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • In Russell 3000 companies with female CEOs, 40.6% of board seats belong to women, and 37% of the companies are gender balanced. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • Russell 3000 companies with women CEOs, board chairs, and nominating chairs have 48.6% women on their boards. If there are no women in any of the three roles, the percentage drops to 25. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • Only 11% of Russel 3000 companies have gender-balanced boards. 43% have three or more women, whereas 46% have less than two women on their boards, with 2% that have no women at all. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • Women of color are still very unrepresented on Russel 3000 boards. Only 3% are Black, 2% are Asian, 1% are Hispanic, and 0.03% are Indigenous people and others. (5050WOB, 2023) 
  • Globally, 24% of women are CEOs/MDs, 37% are CFOs, 24% are CMOs, 23% are COOs, 19% are CIOs, and 39% are HR directors (Grant Thornton, 2023) 
  • Africa is the leading region, with 68% female HR directors and 35% women CMOs. The ASEAN region has the most female CFOs at 53%, and women in Latin America hold the most CEO positions globally at 32%. North America has the most female COOs and CIOs. (Grant Thornton, 2023) 

Male Managers vs. Female Managers Statistics

Women are strong leaders. 

Although both men and women possess specific leadership strengths, women tend to be more supportive and inclusive. 

Over the years, many studies have shown how women outperform men in some aspects of leadership. For example, they are more likely to possess emotional intelligence, self-control, awareness, social skills, and even prosocial and moral orientation. On the other hand, men gravitate towards “dark side” personality traits. 

So why are male managers vs. female managers statistics still showing a very apparent gender and wage gap in the workforce? 

Unfortunately, society remains gender-biased.  

Women lack representation in leadership roles, despite being twice as likely to spend time on DEI, speak out against discrimination and educate themselves about the challenges in the workforce. 

Groupon survey focusing on women-owned small businesses found that 54% experienced double standards. They also said that they find it challenging to balance work and family. Women who juggle between duties are more likely to experience burnout and downshift their careers.  

There’s also an increase of women leaving the workforce altogether. In fact, Latinas were most affected by this as 43% of them spend five or more hours in caregiving and housework.

The challenges and societal pressure, even the COVID-19 pandemic, put women in leadership roles at a disadvantage, setting back their professional advancement by five years.

A somewhat positive outlook is the increasing trend of women bosses that will likely continue. Here’s what the women in leadership statistics have to say on that:

  • The number of female managers is rising. Senior management roles grew from 29% to 31% in 2021, with 83% of countries having 30% or more women in management positions. (Grant Thornton, 2021) 
  • Africa is one of the best-performing regions globally, with 39% of women leaders. The U.S. has 33%, and the E.U. has 34%. (Grant Thornton, 2021) 
  • Nine out of ten companies (90%) have at least one woman in a leadership position compared to 2017, when the number was 66%. (Grant Thornton, 2021) 
  • For every 100 men, there are only 86 women who get a promotion to the same managing positions. The number drops even lower for Latinas and African-American women. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • 24% of women experienced burnout in 2021, compared to 35% of their male counterparts. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • For women who manage teams, burnout goes up to 50%, with 40% of them considering quitting their careers because of it. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Female managers are more supportive of their teams. 31% provide emotional support compared to 19% of male managers. Moreover, up to 61% of women leaders check on the team’s overall well-being compared to 54% of men in the same positions. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Women are more significant allies of women of color. 38% of women in senior positions mentored or sponsored one or more women of color, compared to 26% of men. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Women are twice as likely to spend time on equity, inclusion, and diversity than men. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Between 2020 and 2021, 38% of E.U. businesses improved their GDI and added at least one woman to their leadership teams. (EWOB, 2021) 
  • Women in leadership roles deal with microaggressions more than men do. Female manager statistics show that 36% of women have been interrupted or spoken over, compared to just 15% of men in the same positions. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • 34% of senior female leaders also reported that they received judgment and doubts about their expertise against 22% of men. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Norway and France are at the top of the gender diversity index in Europe, with 35% of women in leadership positions. (EWOB, 2021) 
  • Although HR directors are the most likely leadership roles for women, this sector decreased from 43% to 38%. (Grant Thrornton, 2021) 
  • Women are more motivated by a sense of purpose, with two-thirds answering that they want their company to positively impact the employees and the community. (Korn Ferry, 2022) 
  • Women in leadership statistics show that the wage gap remains a problem. For every dollar men make, women managers make just 84 cents, directors 84 cents, and executives 73 cents. The controlled gap for female executives is somewhat higher, reaching $0.95. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • Overall, the uncontrolled wage gap for all women in the workplace is 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • 38% of employees prefer working for women, and 26% for men. 78% of all female respondents feel more confident about having women leaders in their company, and 42% trust a woman boss more than a man. (ResumeLab, 2021) 
  • Men are twice as likely to get a promotion or leadership training. (Wall Street Journal, 2020) 
  • Almost 50% of men get guidance on reaching a P&L job, compared to 15% of women. (Wall Street Journal, 2020) 
  • 48% of women cut their salaries to pay off their employees during the pandemic. (Bank of America, 2021)
  • For every 100 men promoted to managers, only 87 women get the same promotions. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • While the percentage of women in managerial positions in the US rises, they are still underrepresented. Namely, 40% of women hold executive positions, and 36% are senior directors. Among them, women of color are represented at 14% and 10%, respectively. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Women in leadership roles are twice as likely to be mistaken for juniors than men. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Compared to 27% of male leaders, 37% of female leaders have had a colleague receive credit for their idea. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Women leaders (43%) are more burnt out than men (31%). (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Most Russel 3000 companies have between 23% and 33% of women on their boards. Namely, the Utilities sector has the most women at 32.4%, whereas the Energy sector has the least at 23%. (5050WOB, 2023)

Business Gender Statistics by Industry

Business gender statistics favor men in general. But different industries have different gender portrayals.

The percentage of female representation in the talent pipeline varies by job sector. Still, women leaders remain the minority, even in the most female-friendly industries. 

  • Tech, IT, and hardware businesses have fewer women in entry-level positions. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Most industries fail to advance women from entry-level roles to C-suite positions. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • The public and social sector and the professional and informational services industry have the highest rate of female C-suite representatives (38%). (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Businesses in the energy, utilities, and basic materials industries fail to advance women into middle management roles. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • The oil and gas industry has the least female leaders or just 10% at the C-suite level. (McKinsey & Company, 2021) 
  • Finance and insurance have the most significant wage gap of all industries. Women earn just 77 cents to every dollar earned by their male colleagues. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • The transportation and warehousing industry has the biggest controlled gap of $0.96. (Payscale, 2022)
  • Women are still less likely to work in engineering and technology. Namely, they make up a mere 16% of technical roles. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • 32% of women who have engineering or technical roles in are the only women in the room at their workplace. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • The highest percentage rate of women in C-suite positions at 36% work in the consumer packaged goods industry. The lowest rate is noted in the oil and gas industry. (McKinsey & Company, 2023) 
  • Women thrive in managerial and executive positions in the healthcare systems and services industry. Namely, 70% of managers, 61% of senior managers, 45% of vice presidents, 44% of senior vice presidents, and 32% of C-suite are women. (McKinsey & Company, 2023). 
  • Women are paid less than men in every occupational group. The most significant gap is recorded among legal occupations, with women earning 63 cents on every dollar a man makes. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • There is no pay gap between women and men, only in healthcare support occupations. (Payscale, 2022)

Fortune 500 CEO Statistics

Fortune Magazine ranks the top-performing U.S. companies in their Fortune 500 list every year. First introduced in 1955, it wasn’t until 1972 that the first woman ever, Katharine Graham, CEO of The Washington Post, appeared on the list. Since then, women’s representation has grown, but these Fortune 500 CEO statistics show that we still have a long way to go. 

  • Fortune 500 female CEOs are at an all-time high, with 74 women in managing positions, up from 41 in 2021. However, that’s only 15% of all Fortune 500 CEOs. (Statista, 2022) 
  • For the first time, two women of color are running Fortune 500 companies. (Fortune, 2021) 
  • Female representation on the Global 500 charts is also at an all-time high. The number of women CEOs rose to 23, with nine new women leaders in 2021. (Fortune, 2021) 
  • Still, that’s only 4.6%, suggesting that the global economy remains predominantly male. (Fortune, 2021) 
  • Out of all, only six are women of color. That’s a notable improvement from 2020, when only one woman of color was CEO of a Global 500 company. (Fortune, 2021) 
  • CVS Health is the highest-ranked Fortune 500 and Global 500 company led by a woman. (Fortune, 2021) 
  • The first woman ever to run a major Wall Street bank is Jane Fraser, the CEO of Citigroup. (Fortune, 2020)
  • For the first time, 10.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. That amounts to a total of 53 female CEOs. (Fortune, 2023) 
  • Five women of color are CEOs of Fortune 500. (WBC, 2022) 
  • 37 women, or 7.4%, are CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies. (WBC, 2022)

Conclusion

There have been debates about women’s abilities to lead throughout history, often attributing their emotions as an argument against them. But an emotional leader is also a compassionate one who listens to and takes care of their employees.  

In times of a notable labor shortage, the workforce could use more of that. 

Recent women in leadership statistics show that companies are trying to narrow the gender gap. But to make a difference, they must create more accepting work environments and provide equal opportunities for mentorship early on in women’s careers. That’s the most effective way to build a solid corporate pipeline of women leaders in the nearest future.

Written by shortlister editorial team

DE&I Consulting Companies

Browse our curated list of vendors to find the best solution for your needs.

Stay Informed

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest trends, expert tips, and workplace insights!

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

Related Posts

60+ Women in the Workplace Statistics in 2024

Transform your workplace into an inclusive and empowering environment for women with these eye-opening statistics. Unlock the potential of gender diversity and drive positive change in your organization.

LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace

Creating a safe and inclusive society is impossible when the workplace does not reflect that. Thus, corporate America has some catching up to do when it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace.