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Gender inequality: only 5% of companies have female CEOs worldwide

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Gender inequality: only 5% of companies have female CEOs worldwide

Although they increasingly occupy positions of greater responsibility, they often find themselves at the bottom. Despite the greater presence of women in the executive committees, the business world remains largely run by men.

The world of work has been designed to respond to the needs of men“says Tara Cemlyn-Jones, head of the British organization 25×25, which defends gender parity in companies.

“The only way to change things is to make structures fairer for women,” advocates this professional who previously worked in investment banking.

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Women, relegated in the highest positions

The figures are eloquent. A report by the consulting firm Deloitte, prepared based on nearly 10,500 companies around the world, indicates that in 2021 only 19.7% of board members were women. Among CEOs, the proportion of women was reduced to 5%.

That year, Latin America only had 10.4% of women in administrative council seats.and a 1.6% of CEOsbased on a sampling of 320 companies focused on Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru.

In the United States, women represented around 24% of board members, and less than 6% of company heads.

In Europe, according to the aforementioned report, France had 43.2% women on boards of directors in 2021. But only three ran a key index companythe CAC 40 in Paris: Catherine MacGregor at the energetic Engie, Christel Heydemann at Orange, and Estelle Brachlianoff at Veolia.

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France has the Copé-Zimmermann law, which since 2011 imposes a minimum quota of 40% of women on boards of directors.

In Spain, the vast majority of companies on the Ibex 35, the selective list of large listed companies, are directed by men, with the notable exceptions of Inditex, the parent company of Zara, and the Santander bank.

Inditex is chaired by Marta Ortega, daughter of the founder Amancio Ortega, and Santander by Ana Patricia Botín, who succeeded her father Emilio Botín in office when he died in 2014.

In Germany, only the Spanish Belén Garijo, head of the Merck laboratory, runs a company on the DAX, the elite index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The role of investors

Ariane Bucaille, partner at Deloitte, estimates that “quotas are a formidable accelerator“, but “if we see a greater presence of women in the executive committees, it is rather in functions such as human resources and marketing“he details.

The non-profit organization 25×25 recently published a report on the issue, which leads to the same conclusions.

Some positions of responsibility in particular, such as that of financial director, are a privileged route to access the position of CEO, but precisely the proportion of women in those “remains very weak”notes the 25×25 report.

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France, a pioneer in this area, adopted the Rixain law, which sets an objective of at least 30% of women in management bodies from 2026, and 40% in 2029.

This law, Bucaille points out, “will encourage some progress. But the process is slow.” “There is no need to relax,” because “we are still far away,” he warns.

Beyond quotas, Tara Cemlyn-Jones emphasizes that environments and mentalities must change, and investors have a role to play there.

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“Questions should be asked about the way investments are decided. Why are fund managers tolerated saying ‘don’t worry about the gender of the manager’? We don’t want to hear that anymore,” insists Tara Cemlyn-Jones .

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