Women represent about 51% of the US population. They earn 60% of all master’s degrees in the United States and control or influence more than 70% of consumer spending. Yet only about 5% of CEOs in corporate America are women. Only 26.5% of executives and only about 21% of board seats are held by women in the S&P 500. For women of color, the numbers are even more dismal. We have to change that. Because progress for women is progress for everyone. That’s why on International Women’s Day 2017, we launched Catalyst CEO Champions For Change.
Today, our group includes more than 50 high-profile CEOs whose companies represent more than 9 million employees and more than $1.7 trillion in revenue globally. These leaders are drawing a line in the sand and publicly pledging to advance more women and women of color into senior leadership positions and onto their boards. And they are sharing their data on women’s advancement so we can collectively measure and report our progress.
Affirmation of Support
We believe in the power of diversity and inclusion. As business leaders we know that making room for everyone to succeed at work is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing. It improves innovation, boosts corporate performance, and energizes employee engagement.
Progress has been made, but there is still much to do. Women are not represented equally at all levels of management in organizations. Only about 21% of S&P 500 board seats are held by women. And, women of color are underrepresented in number on these Boards and in senior levels of management broadly. It’s time for more rapid change and that requires taking a bold stand.
As senior leaders, we hold ourselves and our teams accountable to make change happen and accelerate diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity within our organizations. We won’t rest until we can all succeed together.
To that end, we commit to continuing to strengthen the diversity and inclusion metrics, policies, and practices across our organizations. We commit to reviewing and improving the pipeline of women of diverse backgrounds for advancement and empowering them with a strong support system. We commit to identifying and working to reduce any structural barriers or unconscious bias that may exist and to doing everything we can to continue to build an inclusive workplace culture.
We will drive these actions with Catalyst, a global thought leader and partner in the advancement of equality of opportunity, regardless of gender for more than 50 years. And, in partnership with Catalyst, we will publicly report on our collective progress, so we can continue to learn, improve, and accelerate change and inclusive prosperity for everyone.
On behalf of my organization, I will work to:
- Accelerate progress in the representation of women, including women of color, in executive/senior level positions over five years.
- Maintain (where strong) or accelerate representation of women, including women of color, on the Company’s Board of Directors (or equivalent) over five years.
- Strengthen the pipeline of women through an annual review of internal diagnostics and leverage leading practices to address any identified issues.
- Benchmark and track inclusion and improve the culture of inclusion within my organization.
- Share key representation metrics with Catalyst for benchmarking and for anonymized reporting of our collective aggregate progress.
As a leader, I personally commit to:
- Actively sponsor women, including women of color.
- Role model positive change internally and externally through my words and actions.
- Drive and embed inclusivity as part of my organization’s culture, helping to empower women in their careers.
- Visibly hold myself and the leaders in my organization accountable for progress.