Equileap: Fifth Annual Gender Equality Global Report Shows Progress Is Real But Too Slow

03.03.2022 - Commitments

Global leader is Australia’s Mirvac with a gender equality score of 79%, followed by Norwegian Bank DNB with 74%, UK’s National Grid also 74%, Admiral Group 73%, and USA’s Nielsen 72%.

  • A tiny minority of 18 companies globally achieved gender balance at all company levels
  • Only 20 companies globally have closed their pay gap and 83% globally do not even publish information on gender pay differences
  • Five years after #MeToo, 2021 was the first year that more companies published an anti-sexual harassment policy (53%) than not (47%)

London & Amsterdam, 3 March 2022 Equileap, the leading provider of gender equality data & insights globally, has published its fifth annual Gender Equality Global Report & Ranking. The milestone report provides a status update on gender equality in business globally, presenting the top 100 companies and key insights per country, sector and on specific issues ranging from equal pay and female representation to all levels of the company to paid parental leave and anti-sexual harassment policies. The research examined 3,895 companies, representing 102 million employees globally, on gender equality across 23 markets based on 19 in-depth criteria.

Diana van Maasdijk, CEO at Equileap: “Our fifth annual report shows encouraging progress towards gender equality with slow but steady improvement since the launch of Equileap’s first annual report in 2017. Despite Covid, gradual progress has been maintained every year across most metrics evaluated, legislation continues to raise the bar and gender lens investing has become a USD 6 billion industry (USD 645 million in 2016).

However, with woeful global statistics showing that, still, only 20 firms have closed the pay gap and only 18 have achieved gender balance it's clear how much better we need to be. The creation of a level playing field for all has never been more urgent, as analysis continues to highlight the links between performance improvements and gender equality1 but one in three women are reported to be considering leaving or downsizing their careers2. it's vital that in the next five years we see governments, companies and investors accelerate the progress towards a state of gender equality in the workplace.”

Top 5 Companies

Top 100 Companies available in the report

Worst performing countries:
Japan 28%, Hong Kong 30% and the USA 35%.

Top 4 Countries

Detailed country reports available in the report

Gender Balance

  • A tiny minority of 18 companies globally achieved gender balance at all company levels: board, executive, senior management and workforce (compared to 10 last year.)
  • Globally, Women represent 26% of board members, 18% of executives, 25% of senior management and 37% of the workforce.
  • Switzerland remains the European country where women have the smallest chance of being promoted (only 13% at executive level and 27% at board level).
  • Japan stands out for extremely low levels of female representation (less than 1% of Japanese companies have gender balanced boards.

The Pay Gap & Sexual Harrassment

  • Only 20 companies globally have closed their gender pay gap.
  • Disclosure is particularly low for gender pay gap information - 83% of companies globally do not publish any information.
  • Disparities between gender pay gap transparency between countries are huge: 92% of Spanish companies do publish gender pay data whereas 92% of US companies do not.
  • 2021 was the first year that more companies globally published an anti-sexual harassment policy (53% ) than not (47%) - five years after #MeToo there is huge room for improvement.
  • Countries leading the way are Spain, (82%) Italy, (73%) France (69% and Canada (68%.)

Parental Leave & Flexible Working

  • Mothers in the workplace have never faced a tougher year than 2021 due to the imbalances in care work3
  • Australia, Canada, the UK and the US offer limited or no statutory paid parental leave.
  • Spain, Italy, (10 days) France, (28 days) Belgium (15 days) implemented higher paid paternity leave indicating their awareness of the importance of leave provisions for both parents
  • UK’s Abrdn (40 weeks) and Kinnevik (39 weeks) continue to be global leaders for parental leave.

Focus on the Financial Sector

The average score for companies in the financial sector is 38%, lower than Utilities which leads with a global average score of 43%, but better than its 2020 score of 35%. Although the global top position is no longer held by a financial company, several

Top 10 financials have significantly improved their score, notably Wells
Fargo & Co. and Admiral Group. Financial companies are well represented in the Top 100, making up 25% of this group. The top 3 companies in this sector are DNB Bank 74%, (Norway) Admiral Group 73% (UK) and Medbank Private Ltd 70% (Australia). However, in terms of Gender Balance - The “leaky pipeline” for women in financial services has continued throughout 2021, with women’s representation in North America and globally starting off approximately equal to men’s but dropping off at every step of the corporate pipeline towards seniority. (51% of the workforce but 28% of boards, 19% of the Executive and 29% of the senior management.) 25% of companies in the financial sector publish gender pay gap information higher than the global average of 17%. The financial sector has the highest average sector score for offering flexible working arrangements 50%, but 54% of financial companies do not publish a sexual harassment policy.

Contact details

Alex Brown 
Phone: +44 (0)781 705 1670 
Email: alex.brown@consultancy32 

Barbara Mahe
Phone: +41 78 683 89 38
Email: [email protected]


Unlike any other gender equality research, Equileap uses the world’s first in-depth cross-sector ranking system to assess and monitor thousands of companies across the globe. Its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard™ consists of 19 criteria including gender balance across the workforce, the gender pay gap, paid parental leave and anti-sexual harassment policies. The dataset for this report consists of 3,895 public companies from 23 developed economies with a market capitalisation of USD 2 billion and greater over the last two fiscal years. Other mid- and large-cap companies have been added to cover relevant benchmarks. Research was carried out throughout the calendar year, and was closed on 22 December 2021.

About Equileap
Headquartered in Amsterdam, Equileap is the leading provider of data and insights on gender equality in the corporate sector. Equileap researches and ranks over 4,000 public companies around the world using a unique and comprehensive Gender Equality Scorecard™ with 19 criteria, including the gender balance of the workforce, senior management and board of directors, as well as the pay gap, parental leave, and sexual harassment. More information at https://equileap.com/

The information included in this document is issued by Equileap Investment Services Support in collaboration with Equileap Foundation (together "Equileap") and is intended for information and discussion purposes only and is not intended, and should not be interpreted as promotional material or investment advice or an offer to acquire units in any investment vehicle or company. Equileap does not provide any investment advice and is not registered as an undertaking for collective
 nvestment in transferable securities nor as an alternative investment fund. People who wish to contribute to the Equileap Foundation (which is an ANBI for Dutch tax purposes) or who would like to support Equileap and its objectives in another manner, are advised to consult their own legal or tax advisor. | © Equileap ®, 2021. All rights reserved. Stichting Equileap Foundation is a tax-exempt ANBI (RSIN/Fiscaal Identificatie Nummer 8560 58 88).

1 Morgan Stanley - why gender diversity may lead to better ROI
2 Women in the Workplace, McKinsey & Company 2021
3Mckinsey - a year and counting, like no other