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What a decade of data says about gender equality at sportswear brands

What a decade of data says about gender equality at sportswear brands

Author: Cara Salpini 

Source: Retail Dive 

Seven. As of July, that’s the total number of new women CEO’s in the entire retail and consumer goods industry in 2019, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It’s not much higher than it was in 2010, a year when there were five new women CEO’s named.

There have been good years, like 2014, when the total of new women CEO’s outnumbered the total of outgoing women CEO’s 12 to six. And then there have been bad years, like 2015, when the total of new women CEO’s was half the number of outgoing women CEO’s (six and 12, respectively). In 2017, 58 men were named to CEO roles, compared to 11 women.

“It is a slow climb,” Colleen Madden Blumenfeld, Director of Public Relations at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told Retail Dive in an email. “Movements like MeToo that shed light on the disparity are helping to move boards and leadership to start promoting more women, but it is not at the rate that will bring equality quickly.”

Athletics retailers are not immune. At the top five sportswear brands, as defined by Euromonitor International, Retail Dive found that a combined total of 23% of top executives are women and 27% of board members are women. Top executives were defined as those listed in annual reports under “executive officers of the registrant.”

“We are going to need a lot more women in positions of power and at the table at all levels in order to truly make lasting change,” Athleta CMO Sheila Shekar Pollak said of the lack of gender diversity at athletics retailers. She noted that some issues, like support for pregnant athletes, just don’t come to mind for those who haven’t had those experiences.

“A lot of times people just aren’t aware of these needs if you aren’t a woman or you aren’t a mom and you haven’t been through it,” she said, adding that it will take more inclusive representation across gender, ethnicity and other minority perspectives to solve some of these equality issues.

To get a sense of the problem, Retail Dive took a look at the executive teams and boards of directors at some of the top sportswear brands to see how much the representation of women has changed over the past decade.

These were our findings.

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