What We Do

Stepping up and breaking through. 

It is no secret that women have often faced barriers where men encounter bridges. Inconsistent opportunities, persistent pay gaps and a lack of representation in critical decision-making roles hampers women’s advancement.

In fact, research from the Women in the Workplace Study by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org shows it will take 100 years at the current pace of change to reach gender parity in the C-Suite. Not on our watch.

To gain valuable food industry insights to further WFF’s mission of Advancing Women Leaders, and to obtain industry-specific data to benefit your organization, we invite you to participate in the 2020 study. Sign up by emailing WITWStudy@wff.org.

Facing the Challenge: Changing the Face of Leadership

McKinsey cites evidence in its 2019 study that more women are breaking through the glass ceiling to reach senior leadership. However, progress to the top is most constrained by what the researchers call a "broken rung" on the early steps to career success.

Women are far more likely to be stuck at the entry level and miss the first promotion to manager that can lead to greater advancement. The Study also finds that HR leaders and companies have not yet grasped the far-reaching effects on career trajectory of missing out on that first promotion.

The biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is the first step up to manager.

  • For every 100 men who receive the first critical promotion to manager, only 72 women do.
  • Women get less of the manager support that advances careers and is linked to positive outcomes like higher promotion rates and a strong desire to stay with a company.
  • Only one in five Food Industry executives are women.
  • Being the "only" woman in the room impacts one in five women making them feel excluded and scrutinized.

We can change these experiences — and improve business performance in the process!

Gender diversity is good for business

Gender inequality not only hurts women — it hurts families, companies and even countries. The research clearly shows that, when women do better, we all do better.

Financial returns are higher in companies with more women in leadership roles. Women bring new skill sets and perspectives to the table. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases and 93% of household food purchases and can help their organizations better tap into consumer insights.

Women have also earned more college degrees than men for more than 35 years, making them a critical source of new talent.

Accelerating women and improving business performance.

Every day, WFF works to accelerate the advancement of women leaders in the Food Industry. We understand that work environments that create greater opportunities for women create greater opportunities for everyone. We partner with the Food Industry to bring those opportunities to fruition because . . .

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) is six percent higher in companies with above average diversity in their leadership teams.
  • Return on equity (ROE) is more than 50 percent higher in Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors.

As we have since our founding in 1989, WFF continues to provide unmatched leadership development, role modeling and strategic networking for women and supports the Food Industry in cultivating the next generation of leaders. Today, we also leverage industry-specific research and proven solutions to help Partner companies win the war for talent and reap the bottom-line rewards of gender-diverse leadership.

That's our passion. That's what we do.

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