Representation of women with intersecting identities still low in senior corporate roles: Survey

By Greg Meckbach | February 16, 2022 | Last updated on February 16, 2022
2 min read
Business People Team Applauding Achievement Concept
©Rawpixel / 123rfStockphoto

While finance and insurance have gender parity at senior levels, most large organizations have few women with intersecting identities, a report from the Prosperity Project says.

The registered charity’s second annual report on gender diversity and leadership, released Wednesday, found very few women at the board or senior management level in Canada who are also racialized, disabled, Indigenous or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+).

The paper is based in part on a November 2021 survey of 82 of Canada’s 500 largest organizations. (The Prosperity Project invited the CEOs of 500 organizations to answer questions on the composition of their boards of directors and senior leadership roles; of those, 418 organizations declined to participate.)

In finance and insurance (20 of the firms surveyed), women made up more than 40% of boards, executive officers, senior management and the pipeline to senior management. The industry “now has gender parity at the top four leadership levels in the finance and insurance sectors,” the report said.

Across all industries, women made up 34% of board roles, 29% of executive officers, 42% of senior management and 55% of pipeline roles.

But the survey paints a different picture when it comes to representation of women with intersecting identities.

“While most organizations have women who identify as women of colour in senior management and the pipeline to senior management, most have zero Indigenous, Black and/or LGBTQ2S+ women at all four leadership levels,” the Prosperity Project said in a release.

Across the 82 companies surveyed, racialized women have only 6.7% of board, executive and pipeline roles (0.5% Black women, and 6.2% women of colour); Indigenous women have only 0.3% of those senior roles; women with disabilities only 0.9% and LGBTQ2S+ women only 0.4%.

The Prosperity Project did not provide breakdowns for representation of women with intersecting identities in the finance and insurance industry.

The LGBTQ2S+ data includes women only, and not non-binary people, a spokesperson said, though the Prosperity Project may include such a breakdown next year.

Greg Meckbach