HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government


It’s common for organizations to have gender parity or close to it in entry-level roles, only to see the percentage of women employees decrease as you get closer to the top. A deeper dive into the data reveals that the drop-off of women is primarily driven by gender disparities in promotion rates, not gender differences in hiring or retention. To address this challenge, the authors have identified a simple and straightforward concept: the gender proportionality principle (GPP), which stipulates that a given level in an organization should aim to reflect the gender composition of the level immediately below it. They have worked with several organizations that report that the GPP has helped achieve sustainable and predictable improvement in gender equity across ranks.


Chilazi, Siri, Iris Bohnet, and Oliver Hauser. "Achieving Gender Balance at All Levels of Your Company." Harvard Business Review. 11/30/2021.