Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail published an article filled with damning statistics documenting just how few women occupy the C-suites of corporate Canada. Just 13% of senior executives at the country’s biggest companies were women; only 4% of the firms had female chief executives. The piece was a meticulous examination of the problem and the systemic reasons behind it. But if you needed the issue summarized in a single sentence, here it is: “There are more male CEOs named Michael at Canada’s largest publicly traded corporations than there are female CEOs.”

That wonderful, horrible line was written by Tavia Grant, who, along with Robyn Doolittle, Chen Wang and many of our other Globe colleagues, have produced The Power Gap, a series that exposes the inequity facing women across the private and public sectors. Taken together, their investigation demonstrates that women are still “outnumbered, outranked and out-earned” in major institutions, from crown corporations to municipal governments.

We launched our own attempt to track the extent of female leadership at Canadian corporations two years ago, with Women Lead Here. Our project had a slightly different, if complementary, mission to The Power Gap: seeking to identify firms at the forefront of appointing women into executive roles. The goal was to set a benchmark that all companies in Canada could use to assess their progress. We were aware that most companies are a long way from achieving gender equity in their leadership. But it seemed useful to establish what “good” currently looks like.

Story continues below advertisement

The research began with the largest publicly traded companies. Researchers evaluated the top three tiers of executive leadership, from the CEO to senior vice-presidents (or their equivalents). This year, that work identified 71 companies in which women held an average of 44% of the executive roles. Compare this result to our 2020 report and you’ll find that—long sigh—not much has changed. Still, there is some hopeful news. There are 34 companies joining our list for the first time. And out of the 37 companies that also appeared in 2020, 41% saw an increase in female leadership. It shows there are companies recognizing that what currently counts as “good” still isn’t good enough. Making this an annual initiative allows us to track both progress and setbacks.

Beyond setting a benchmark, we also want to highlight the approaches, cultures and mindsets that can lead to tangible improvement. Not all corporate leaders are willing to acknowledge a problem or commit to rectifying it. Yet many have expressed a sincere desire to address the imbalance. For them, we’re here to offer ideas and inspiration.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies