The Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio makes a telling point in its “Gender Equity and Leadership Study,” released last week: It reminds that for all the focus of late on bringing greater diversity and inclusion to the community, “gender has been conspicuously missing.” That isn’t to play down, in any way, the need to act regarding a black community in Akron long excluded from economic opportunity. Rather, the community must find ways to achieve progress on both fronts. A city such as Akron, looking to navigate a difficult economic transition, must take full advantage of the talent it has available.

That isn’t the case now. The Women’s Network has the data to prove it, collecting information on more than 5,000 leaders covering hundreds of businesses and organizations, private, nonprofit and public, across Summit County. The study includes a survey of 447 professionals sharing their experiences.

All of this builds on the leadership conference, “FLUX: A Movement for Change,” conducted by the Women’s Network last fall, during which it released similar data highlighting gender inequities.

What does the latest information show? Women in the Akron area hold 18 percent of the senior leadership positions in the private sector, or short of the 30 percent nationally. For women of color, the share drops to 1 percent, compared to the national figure of 5 percent. Women make up 5 percent of the mayors. The national number is 22 percent. Women account for 41 percent of the seats on nonprofit boards, a share unchanged since 2014 and trailing the national figure of 48 percent. Recall that women are 52 percent of the county population.

When it comes to pay, the inequity persists, for instance, female top earners in the private sector at 75 percent of the compensation received by their male counterparts. Women in chief executive positions at nonprofit organizations make 82 percent of what men receive. The study found that while women account for 45 percent of the top jobs at nonprofits, four are among the top 20 highest paid.

There are bright spots. The data show the percentage of women who are chief executives locally is higher than the national figure for the top 500 companies. Women dominate the local judiciary, holding two-thirds of the bench seats, including all 10 in the general division of the county common pleas court.

That common pleas presence deserves attention. As the Women’s Network has noted, this was accomplished intentionally, a strategy set to see the seats were won. Thus, something similar is required to make progress on the wider stage, giving priority to putting women in leadership positions, the community adopting the emphasis as part of its culture or identity. It means putting aside the misconceptions cited in the study, such as women having less ambition for leadership positions or choosing to put their careers on hold.

The thinking isn’t to do women a favor, or deliver something they do not deserve. This is about benefiting Akron and surroundings by getting the most out of its talent. As an aging industrial city and region, this area has enough challenges without adding to the degree of difficulty by failing to tap fully the contribution of one-half of the population. This is what inclusion and diversity entail, whether the focus is women or minorities or both. The entire community is better off, as stressed in the Elevate Akron plan of the city, county and the Greater Akron Chamber.

The task now is to turn the data and analysis into concrete results, so the next time the Women’s Network looks at the numbers, it finds women filling a significantly larger share of the leading roles.