Recent research studies indicate a very strong correlation exists between corporate performance and gender balanced leadership; the more diverse the leadership team, the better financial performance of the organization.

Focus on the diversity of corporate boards has been viewed as an important step to a more gender balanced leadership. The intent of initiatives to increase female representation on boards followed the assumption that this would lead to the promotion of more female leaders within a company.

Now there is a new study – Womenomics 101, that focuses on the representation of women on the executive committee. This survey, done by 20-first, is designed to take a serious look at which companies are truly embracing gender balance.

The United States came up on top with 89% of companies having at least one women on their executive committee. However, when the study investigated further, they found that the women who are promoted to the executive committee are often in a support role like legal, HR, communications. Often these roles, do not have profit and loss responsibility.

According to Avivah Wittenberg-Cox of 20-first and co-author of Why Women Mean Business, “Companies that only manage to promote women into leadership through staff roles demonstrate that they have not yet worked out how to gender balance their leadership development systems and their talent pipelines”.

Wittenberg-Cox suggests that companies still don’t get it. They don’t get “womenomics”. It is mostly women who are purchasing their products and having more women in leadership positions is the key to understanding and tapping into this growing market.

Listen to my interview this Tuesday, December 15th 2-3pm EDT, with Why Women Mean Business co-author Alison Maitland as we discuss the next economic revolution: womenomics.

Listen live or download mp3.