About Catalyst CEO Champions For Change
Women represent about 50% of the world’s population.1 Their contributions to the global economy are significant: countries with at least half of their population of women participating in the labor force contribute 62% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).2 Yet women’s representation in business leadership remains staggeringly low. Only about 5% of Fortune Global 500 companies are run by women CEOs.3 In the United States, women hold just 27% of board seats in the Fortune 5004 and 30% of board seats in the S&P 500.5 For women of color, the numbers are even more dismal.6 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 70 high-profile CEOs whose companies represent more than 11 million employees and over $3 trillion in revenue globally.7 These leaders are drawing a line in the sand and publicly pledging to advance more women, particularly 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, particularly women of color, are underrepresented in senior levels of management and on boards. 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 60+ 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, particularly women identifying with marginalized ethnic and racial groups, in executive/senior level positions.
- Maintain (where strong) or accelerate representation of women, particularly women identifying with marginalized ethnic and racial groups, on the Company’s Board of Directors (or equivalent).
- 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, particularly women of identifying with marginalized ethnic and racial groups.
- 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.
Criteria to Join
Beginning in 2019, Catalyst expanded the criteria to join this community, reflecting the caliber of the Catalyst CEO Champions For Change and to encourage all organizations to set high standards for the representation of women, particularly women identifying with marginalized ethnic and racial groups, in leadership.
To join this community:
- The company must be a Catalyst Supporter.
- The signatory must be the global CEO or Chair of the company.
- The company must meet the following representation criteria:
- At least 2 women on the board (or board equivalent for professional services and law firms).
- At least 2 women on the executive team reporting to the CEO.
- At least 1 woman (of the 4) from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
- The company must commit to submitting representation data in support of an annual report highlighting the progress of the Champions community.
- Population, female (% of total population) [Data set]. (2020). The World Bank.
- Empowering women: How COVID-19 has affected the gender gap. (2021). Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
- Hinchliffe, E. (2021, August 2). The number of women running Global 500 businesses soars to an all-time high. Fortune.
- Missing pieces report: The board diversity census of women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards, 6th edition. (2021). Alliance for Board Diversity and Deloitte.
- 2021 U.S. Spencer Stuart board index. (2021). Spencer Stuart.
- Women of color in the United States: Quick Take. (2021). Catalyst.
- Catalyst analysis of Catalyst CEO Champions For Change companies.
- Why diversity and inclusion matter: Quick Take. (2020). Catalyst.