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How close are we to gender parity in 2024?

Two hands with male and female symbols

Imagine Sarah and John, both nearing retirement. Sarah faces a daunting 19-year extension to her career just to reach the same pension savings John has amassed. The Pensions Policy Institute’s recent findings underscore the significant gender gap in pension wealth.

Fear not though, the gender gap is on course to close… in 52 years. Analysis from Involve, a consultancy promoting diversity and inclusion in business, reveals that at the current rate of change, the FTSE 100 will reach CEO gender parity in 2076.

Gender inequality persists in the workplace. Although 28% of C-suite positions are held by women, according to the LeanIn and McKinsey Women in the Workplace study, true equality is still far off.

Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of Involve, stresses the need for supportive policies to enhance gender equality. He specifically highlights the importance of addressing the needs of the 13 million menopausal women in the UK.

He says, “An immediate step that companies large and small can take is to implement robust menopause support policies to support the estimated 13 million women of menopause age at work in the UK. Given the average age of a CEO is similar to that of a woman going through menopause, supporting these women is one way to make them more likely to be able to naturally progress into leadership positions.”

Dr Jummy Okoya, Interim Dean of the Office for Institutional Equity, identifies a lack of nurturing of high-performing female talent as a significant challenge. To address this, she suggests involving women in high-stakes projects to boost their visibility and offer valuable leadership experience.

She references the 100 Black Women Professor Now initiative as an example of a positive benchmark, that has successfully promoted more Black women to senior leadership roles in under three years.

Sandra Quince, CEO of Paradigm for Parity, highlights a troubling trend: despite three years of progress, last year witnessed fewer promotions of women to middle manager positions, except for black women. She explores the challenges SMEs encounter in achieving gender parity in leadership roles, providing practical solutions to address them.


This is one of the biggest challenges hindering gender parity. Companies must create an inclusive environment to keep women in the workforce, starting with their “50 square feet at work…their manager and team.”


Companies must strive for diverse representation, mitigating biases in interviews and the decision-making process.  A diverse interview panel and review committee can ensure consistency and long-term success.

Developing and Promoting

Women and underrepresented talent are promoted through exposure and experience facilitated by sponsorship. Investing in sponsorship programs and leadership development initiatives fosters the promotion of women and underrepresented talent.

She adds “Companies who are intentional, have strong sponsorship programs, develop their leaders to be curious, conscientious and collaborative, and have expansive benefits are those that have been successful in attaining gender parity.”

It’s not all bad though. Despite the UK’s Economic Participation and Opportunity ranking being number 43 in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index 2023, due to income disparities, the country has seen overall progress, climbing 7 places from 22nd in 2022 to 15th in 2023.

As strides are celebrated in the UK and globally, achieving gender equality demands continuous collaboration to avoid waiting for over half a century for parity.

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