A great deal of discussion surrounds gender diversity in workforce, and especially in the maritime environment, which is struggling to maintain a sort of gender balance both onboard and onshore.

For example, female seafarers account for 2% of the world’s total and of 6,500 engine officers at sea currently, only 1% are estimated to be female.

And when discussion goes to leadership positions, things are getting worse: Although an estimated 47% of the total labor force consisted of women, women in leadership positions are not a regularly seen phenomenon. Latest data by Catalyst at S&P 500 companies issued in February 2020 revealed that women hold about 6% of CEO positions.

This is a key contributing factor to the multi-discussed gender pay gap. World Economic Forum has estimated that it will take two centuries for women around the world to experience full economic parity, if we continue in the same pace as today.

Wishing to pave the way for a better working world, multinational professional services provider EY launched in 2015 the SHE Community, working to inspire, motivate and engage people to work together for more diversity in business.


What is SHE?

Under the SEA Community, EY launched in 2018 the SHE Index, in a bid to measure how far individual companies had come with regards to gender balance.

The SHE Index is a catalyst for encouraging companies to focus on gender balance in leadership and workforce, equal compensation and work life balance.

As such, the efforts concentrate on giving incentives to organizations, companies and public institutions to make changes within their business and within their sector to have this development move faster forward. As such, SHE Index:

  • is a tool to help organizations measure gender balance and sharpen the focus on building a diverse culture.
  • helps organizations create a wider understanding of gender balance and diversity, rewarding positive measures and policies as well as concrete results.
  • Enables organizations to track own progress, and compare gender balance and learn from other organizations in the same industry.

More than 120 companies have so far joined the SHE Index. The first Index was limited to the major listed Norwegian companies.

By joining the Index, companies have taken an important step in being a part of the journey towards gender equality. Even though we have seen a significant increase in companies joining the Index, we encourage more to do so.

- Christin E. Bøsterud, CEO, EY Norway and Heidi Aven, CEO & Founder, SHE Community.


What is gender balance?

Gender balance in senior management is defined as 40-60 % of either gender, the same as in the general workforce.


Why women in management?

Participation of more women is considered a key factor to an organization’s overall efficiency. Recent research has shown that businesses with genuine gender diversity, particularly at senior level, perform better and see significant profit increases.

In a world that is constantly changing, diversity is necessary to adapt to new markets. Diversity offers a wider understanding and it creates new networks across genders, cultures and countries. Companies nowadays are dependent on these networks, and they need people with the ability to create connections to different parts of our society.

-The SHE Index report.

A recent ILO survey to 13,000 enterprises in 70 countries revealed that:

  • The beneficial effects of gender diversity begin to accrue when women hold 30 % of senior management and leadership positions. However, almost 60% of enterprises do not meet this target, meaning they struggle to reap the rewards.
  • In addition, in almost half of companies surveyed, women account for less than one in three of their entry-level management recruits – meaning that the pipeline to senior management may not deliver the talent needed.
  • Almost three-quarters of the enterprises surveyed had equal opportunity or diversity and inclusion policies, however, the report says more specific actions are needed to ensure that women are visible and promoted to strategic areas of business.

To ensure that we have the best and smartest minds available, we need to attract more female talents.

-Per Martin Tanggard, Director, Nor-Shipping.


Did you know?

Norway is one of the most gender equal countries in the world. Share of women in management positions in Norway in 2019 was:

  • Top Management: 33%
  • CEO: 25%
  • Board of Directors: 38%
  • Direct Reports to Top Management: 33%

Yet, the current situation in private sector is not as diversified as one might think. While Board of Directors in Norway have recruited 38% women, the number of female leaders has not changed much in 10 years.